September 23, 2022

How to ensure your programmatic campaigns are safe

You wouldn’t want your programmatic ads placed in an environment related to fake news, illegal activities, or porn, right? Your brand reputation could suffer a lot from being exposed on the wrong websites, not to mention all the security issues you might encounter. Also, if you’re paying for your ads to appear in front of a specific audience, you’d like to make sure that audience sees it – and hopefully clicks on them. The problem is, the digital landscape reflects our physical world and we all know that some of us mortal beings are not always well-intentioned, thus the existence of fraudsters. Such people are very good at making you believe your ads are being seen and clicked on through the use of bots, which allows them to make plenty of money at your expense. While you look at your impressions thinking your ad appeared in front of a lot of people and eventually pay the bill, malevolent individuals fraudulently amass your money. I can almost hear their evil laugh from here.

So how can you differentiate real traffic from bot traffic? What are the signs and how can you prevent fraud? How can you increase your brand’s safety and ensure your programmatic campaigns are safe? How can you increase your ROI and optimize your ads?

so many Q

An ad verification platform is the answer 

Today is your lucky day. Not only will I give you answers to the previous questions, but I will also give you the perfect solution to safeguard your reputation while increasing your ROI (I know, I’m a good person).

There are plenty of ad verification platforms out there to help you tackle the problems I’ve just mentioned, but it takes time to find the right one. Some ad networks are less exigent than others when it comes to classifying websites as fraudulent, so you need to be well-informed in order to select the ideal partner to protect web users along with your amazing brand. Such tools are absolutely essential to brand safety, and after extensive research over a few months, we have found the holy grail of ad verification (can you hear the drum roll?): Adloox! Now it’s the fraudsters who hear my evil laugh.

Adloox is a leading independent ad verification and insight platform, with a super friendly team of responsive specialists – it’s always good to know the people behind a company are kind and professional, do you agree?

Thanks to Adloox, we make sure that the programmatic campaigns of our clients and our own are both safe and efficient. Let me tell you how.

Adloox increases ad viewability

The common purpose of all ad verification platforms is to ensure viewability, brand safety, and to prevent fraud. Those are the 3 pillars necessary for all efficient and secure programmatic campaigns.

Of course, an ad is only effective if your audience sees it, and since the number of ads shown does not equal the number of ads seen, we need to define ad viewability. How do we know which ads are seen and which are not?

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), ad viewability refers to how visible an ad is on a website across desktop or mobile devices. To consider that an ad has been viewed, 50% of the pixels of the ad need to be displayed (“in view”) on the screen for a minimum of 1 continuous second (2 seconds for video). Only then can we count the ad viewability as an impression.

Adloox measures every single supplier, domain, ad placement, and ad unit so advertisers always know where ads appear, for how long, and how viewable they are. To do so, the Adloox team measures the following elements:

  • the percentage of viewable and non-viewable impressions according to the guidelines previously given
  • the percentage of ads below the fold: the content below the fold is less visible on a webpage as the user needs to scroll down longer to get to the ad. Such ads are hidden when the user arrives on the page and there’s a chance they will never get to see them if they leave without scrolling all the way down. Placements below the fold thereby considerably reduce ad viewability. 
  • the exposure time: how long the user is exposed to the ad.  
  • the in-view duration: how long the user actually sees the ad. 

Those key metrics enable Adloox to exclude fraudulent impressions such as accidental clicks and invalid traffic and give objective recommendations so advertisers have better control over their media spend, and so they can optimize and maximize their performance. The dashboard image below illustrates the viewability of a campaign Adloox monitored for Enigma (we run our own campaigns, Adloox helps us be more visible and safe). 

viewability 1
Enigma’s Adloox real-time dashboard

Thanks to Adloox technology, Enigma has a viewability rate of 58,8% net GIVT which is 5 points above the Adloox benchmark.

Let’s talk about ad fraud

In an ideal world, only real human beings would see ads displayed on the web and advertisers would get the share of money they are entitled to in order to make an impact on their business. But the reality is different as scammers come up with ingenious ways of defrauding advertisers using botnets and other methods. When we address such practices, we talk about invalid traffic, of which there are 2 kinds: General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) and Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT). I won’t go too deep into the difference: basically, the first one is easier to spot than the second one as its name indicates. Obviously, our marvelous friends from Adloox identify both kinds of invalid traffic and have tools to react fast – and furious (sorry, I couldn’t help it). 

The most important types of fraud you need to be aware of are:  websites optimized to display an extremely high number of ads which present very little user engagement, and bot traffic. If your ads are displayed on a website specifically built to gather massive amounts of ads in the same place, no one will trust your ads and they might not even be seen as there is too much information coming from all over the page. 

Bots, are servers or computers designed to act as a large number of users. Fortunately for us, they’re quite bad at pretending to be humans as their behavior doesn’t match ours. For instance, they switch between websites every 10 seconds for hours on end. Even the biggest gamer on Earth can’t do that.

There are plenty more types of fraud, such as fake domains, domain spoofing, adware, and many more, but we won’t go there today as it’ll get a bit too geeky.  

How Adloox prevents ad fraud

Displaying ads on fraudulent traffic is a waste of budget and opportunity, thereby Adloox combines its state-of-the-art technology with human intelligence to stop fraud at the source and expose them wherever they hide. The Adloox team measures the percentage of GIVT and SIVT using sophisticated technology to detect fraud. This significantly reduces wasted spending. Furthermore, they are the only vendor in the market that eliminates fraud at the subdomain and user level to show ads to real people.

Enigma’s Adloox real-time dashboard

The chart above illustrates the invalid traffic filtration. The numbers show that performances are above the market benchmark with Adloox. On average, Adloox customers are at 8% of IVT while we are only at 2.7% which means that our traffic is almost 100% human. 

Adloox’s secret weapons: Pre-bid and post-bid solutions

Adloox uses pre-bid and post-bid technology which enables them to block more than 5 billion fraudulent bid requests a day on the open web. 

According to Adloox, “pre-bid solutions prevent buyers from bidding and serving ads to fraudulent, non-brand safe or non-viewable inventory, thus helping to eliminate financial wastage”. Post-bid allows us to do the same even after the bid has been placed, thereby allowing better campaign optimization. These functionalities ensure the environment of the ad is appropriate, and advertisers love that, don’t they?

adloox screenshot
Adloox’ presentation to Enigma

Needless to say, pre-bid and post-bid are a must-have for brands in order to increase the ROI and optimize media spending. With Adloox, campaigns have a higher CTR as invalid clicks and impressions are removed, therefore the cost of conversion in a campaign with pre-bid solution is systematically lower. Amen. 

Why should we care?

A company’s brand image can be damaged if it appears in the wrong place or against the wrong type of content. To make sure your ads aren’t displayed on websites you wouldn’t want your kids to visit, Adloox’s own algorithm analyzes multiple elements in real time to determine the page content and context. If deemed potentially damaging, their premium firewall blocks your ads from appearing. Their unique additional level of human verification reduces risks even further. Moreover, their real-time optimizing gives you additional granularity and control by enabling campaign-level keyword blocking to be uploaded and adapted in real-time.

Adloox technology scans websites for inappropriate content. With their monitoring work, they provide us with a weekly updated list of domains that should be excluded from our delivery, allowing Enigma’s trading desk to minimize brand risk and financial wastage before purchasing. A report is available on Adloox’s dashboard with the exhaustive brand safety categories list (using IAB taxonomy) such as fake news, adults, and illegal, in order to understand where the inefficiencies are coming from.

This way, Adloox ensures all of our client’s campaigns and Enigma’s are safe and performant.

brand sfaety
Enigma’s Adloox real-time dashboard
fake news

There’s always more

If you’re willing to go further and learn more about programmatic advertising, we have more articles in store for you. 

Maybe the article you’ve just read made you realize you needed a little refresh about the basics of programmatic advertising. If you feel like it, this article will give you the answers you seek

In this one, you’ll learn about the difference between real-time bidding and programmatic advertising. You will undoubtedly sharpen your knowledge about this passionate topic. 

Are you familiar with the terms SSP, DSP and DMP? If the answer is no, this article is the one you need. You cannot grasp the complexity of programmatic advertising without understanding what they mean. 

I hope this article was useful to you! Now you know who to turn to if you’re looking for an ad verification partner 🤓

In the meantime, keep learning, keep exploring.

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