CTV ad fraud ‘costs advertisers up to $8m a month’

CTV ad fraud ‘costs advertisers up to $8m a month’

Connected TV (CTV) ad fraud costs advertisers $6m to $8m a month and publishers missed out on $144m in 2021.

In contrast, fraudulent non-CTV digital ads are costing brands at least $23bn each year.

These findings come from the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), a trade body for national TV networks and media companies, which published a new report defining CTV ad fraud and comparing the impact of CTV ad fraud to non-CTV digital ad fraud.

It found losses experienced by advertisers and publishers due to fraudulent activity were significantly lower for CTV channels compared to non-CTV digital channels.

The trade body also reported both consumers and marketer trust the environment of CTV and see it as less vulnerable to fraud than other digital channels. The report stated there were “very limited opportunities overall for fraud to exist within premium professionally produced CTV content.”

Jason Wiese, senior vice president, director of strategic insights, VAB, said fraudulent ad activity in CTV “doesn’t impact the viewing experience, which enables greater consumer trust of TV advertising.”

He also clarified VAB’s definition of ad fraud requires the intention of deception, saying: “Real ad fraud is defined by maliciously and intentionally falsifying human engagement, not normal viewing behaviours like falling asleep in front of the TV.”

Independent ad fraud researcher Dr Augustine Fou told The Media Leader he doubted the report’s findings, elaborating that the figures presented by the trade body about the impact of CTV and non-CTV digital ad were inaccurate and “completely ignorant.”

He also contested the claim that there were very limited opportunities for fraud within CTV content, explaining: “This is only true if ad buyers bought CTV ads directly from those media sellers. Everything else in programmatic channels is bad guys pretending to be those premium CTV channels and the media sellers cannot prevent any of it themselves.”

Fou added marketers’ greater trust of CTV reveals the ignorance of marketers to the issue of CTV fraud. “This is also because they been lied to by the adtech companies and media agencies selling CTV inventory to them,” he added.

Last year, DoubleVerify, an ad verification platform for digital media, exposed a CTV fraud scheme that was attempting to steal over $8m a month in adspend across CTV and mobile video channels. The scheme – dubbed ‘ViperBot’ – was spoofing over five million devices and creating 85 million fraudulent ad requests daily.

The platform also identified and flagged three new variants of another CTV ad fraud scheme called ‘LeoTerra’ which spoofed more than 92 million devices during the first half of last year and generated up to 3.5 million device signatures a day. DoubleVerify estimated LeoTerra’s latest variant has cost unprotected advertisers up to $10m this year alone.

Fou believes CTV ad fraud is much more damaging than VAB reported and fraud detection tech does not currently give us the full picture.

He commented: “Every single one of the 16 CTV fraud cases so far in the last two years involved faked bid requests, where bad guys simply pretended to be the mainstream media seller.

“The current detection tech can’t even reliably detect that CTV ads ran at all, let alone ran on an actual TV.”

When asked by The Media Leader whether its figures on the impact of CTV ad fraud included losses from unprotected CTV inventory traded programmatically, the VAB did not offer comment.

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