02/19 Von Niall Hogan

UK | The Drum: Identifying Quality Impressions

As new technology emerges, and as fast as we can establish new media formats and platforms, there’s a separate imperative to manage industry standards and best practice for online advertising.

The Drum’s drive to produce a manifesto for Digital Trading is an important initiative. Advertisers quite rightly are nervous to hear that there are issues with brand safety, viewability and even ad fraud. Through self-regulation and the use of technology to improve the online environment we will reassure brands that we, as an industry, are taking these issues seriously.

No marketer wants to know that they’re paying for advertising that isn’t being seen, or is wasted, or worse – evaluating data which is not relevant. The issue of wastage is not confined to digital; however, as an industry we have sold marketers the medium based on data, analytics and ultimately its accountability.

A sobering stat published last year that 54% of all digital ads are never seen by internet users, highlighted the potential waste of US $11.7 billion global digital advertising spend. In fact, the more reputable and premium the advertiser or the site, the more attractive they are to fraudulent traffic.

In our semi-annual report, due to be published at the end of February, we have analysed billions of advertising impressions and we have seen a noticeable decrease in fraudulent traffic.

Compared to the first half of 2013, fraudulent activity decreased in the second half of the year. Bot traffic levels stayed the same on direct publishers at 2%; on exchanges fraudulent activity decreased from 20% to 13%; while on networks, fraudulent activity decreased from 20% to 15%.

While trends for addressing bot traffic look promising, an ad impression that has no potential to be seen – either because it is served to a bot, or served in a place that cannot be seen by a human user – will not be eradicated completely. But we can manage the levels. Illegal bot activity is constantly changing, but we have identified patterns, and technology to proactively identify and block them.

We feel 2014 is the year that the industry begins to truly address the issue of online media quality.

Read more here.