As ad revenue moves to connected television, fraud schemes spike 70%

Mark Zagorski, Chief Executive Officer at DoubleVerify

DoubleVerify (DV), a software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics, released its 2022 Global Insights Report, analysing media quality and performance trends from more than one trillion impressions delivered across over 2,100 brands in 80 markets. This fifth year anniversary report explores how far the industry has come since 2017.

“The good news is that verification is working. DoubleVerify’s first-ever Global Insights Report, published in 2017, reported display viewable rates at 52% and video viewable rates at 59%. Now, they are near or above 70%,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO at DoubleVerify.

“We also saw brand safety violations fall for the second year in a row, while the number of fraud schemes we were able to protect our clients from increased. Based on our stats, it is clear that verification technology is making the internet stronger, safer and more secure.”

The report provides a market-by-market analysis for North America, LATAM, EMEA and APAC across video and display impressions measured year-over-year (YoY) from January-December 2021, including desktop and mobile web, mobile app, and connected TV (CTV).

What were the key insights from DoubleVerify’s study?

Key takeaways from our analysis this year include:

Record Spike in Fraud Schemes, Driven by CTV and Video

The number of fraud schemes uncovered by DV spiked by over 70% YoY from 2020 to 2021. This year, an unprecedented number of schemes targeted CTV and video – the most complex of which included OctoBot, SneakyTerra, ViperBot and SmokeScreen.

We estimate these schemes alone attempted to steal more than $6-8 million each month from advertisers – and are costing publishers, too. DV estimates show that these CTV schemes alone may have siphoned $140 million from publishers in 2021.

Brand Safety Violations Decrease for 2nd Year in a Row

The post-bid brand suitability violation rate continues to fall, and is now 9% lower than last year for an overall rate of 7.1% – meaning advertisers see brand suitability violation rates fall as their verification strategy matures. DV also saw momentum for a brand safety.

In 2019, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) and the 4A’s released the brand safety floor and suitability framework. The brand safety floor identifies topics that are considered unsafe for monetisation. 93% of the advertisers DV analysed leverage at least one brand safety floor category for blocking and or monitoring, and 61% use all of them.

Video Ads See Impressive Growth in Attention, Driven by CTV

Video Completion refers to the number of times a video plays to the end, often broken up into quartile metrics to indicate levels of video performance and attention (e.g. 25% Complete, 50% Complete, 75% Complete, 100% Complete). DV has seen moderate improvement in quartile-level completion rates for quartiles 1, 2, and 3 over the last 3 years.

However, Video Completion Rate (VCR) has drastically improved from 62% in 2019, to 67% in 2020, to 71% in 2021. This increase is likely due to increased measurement on CTV, where VCR climbed 3% year-over-year and is now at 95.6%.

Post-bid Quality Violations Decline for Second Year

Increased adoption of pre-bid verification is driving declines in post-bid violations (such as brand safety/suitability, fraud and geo infractions). Pre-bid activation of verification solutions allows advertisers to reduce blocks by evaluating whether a programmatic impression will be brand-suitable, fraud-free, and in geo before the bid takes place according to the study.

Advertisers using pre-bid verification through the media transaction are seeing marked improvement in the quality of their buys, with post-bid violation rates falling 6% YoY. DV advertisers experience just 10% post-bid violations across all quality measurement criteria.

Experience is Driving More Sophisticated Verification Strategies

The number of years a brand has worked with a verification provider typically equates to greater sophistication and understanding of the value of such verification tools, ultimately resulting in lower violation rates, greater campaign quality, and efficiency.

The DoubleVerify research study also found that long-standing verification users are most likely to adopt a wider set of verification tools, preventing fraud and brand suitability infractions before an ad is served. These advanced advertisers saw a 9.4% post-bid violation rate in 2021–6% below the global average and 28% below more recent adopters.

How did Australia and the APAC in general fare?

For APAC & Australia specifically key findings include:

  1. APAC has the lowest post-bid fraud rate at 1%, compared with North America (1.5%), EMEA (1.4%) and LATAM (1.3%). This doesn’t mean that fraud isn’t present in APAC, just that pre-bid controls are eliminating fraud before it can be processed for post-bid blocking.
  • Aussie’s post-bid fraud rate is 1.4%, the second highest in APAC, behind Hong Kong (2%).

2. APAC brand suitability violations dropped by 31% YoY to 6.9%, capturing how complex brands have become with their policies to balance protection with the ability to scale. Only North America (6.6%) has a lower violation rate, with EMEA (9.4%) and LATAM (10.3%).

  • Australia brand suitability violations dropped by 17% to a 8.2% violation rate, the third highest in APAC behind New Zealand (9.5%) and Malaysia (8.6%).

3. APAC Video Viewable rates are the highest in the world, up 17% to a 82.8% rate. This compares to EMEA (75.1%), LATAM (77.4%) and North America (71.1%)

  • Although comparatively high on a global basis, Australia video viewable rates are down 8% to 72%, the second lowest in APAC, behind Hong Kong (64%).

4. Display Viewable rates in APAC are increasing, but at 64.6% remain five percentage points below the display viewable 70% threshold recommended by the IAB. Only EMEA has a lower display viewable rate (64.4%), with North America (66.7%) and LATAM (71.9%).

  • Australia display viewable rates are joint-third highest in APAC, up 6% to a display viewable rate of 69%, equal to Indonesia (69%) and behind Malaysia (71%) and Philippines (75%).

“The report shows that actions like pre-bid controls, cleaning up keyword lists and implementing Authentic Brand Suitability targeting is having a real impact on the performance of brand campaigns across the APAC,” said Imran Masood, Country Manager of DV, AUNZ.

“We are seeing the effects of brands and their agencies deploying more complex verification strategies which is driving lower violation rates, greater campaign quality, and efficiency.”

For the full 2022 Global Insights Report, visit DoubleVerify.