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Global ad fraud rates dip in 2020, but brand risk on the rise: IAS study

Connected TV viewability tops the video viewability rankings worldwide.

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NEW DELHI: As the world underwent a tectonic shift in 2020, sparking evolution in consumer behaviour, brands had to resort to innovative ways to target their TGs. With greater time spent at home, TV viewing increased, as did online video consumption and uptake of gaming, leading to people interacting with advertisers on new, diverse platforms. And as is the case in times of crisis or economic slowdown, there were concerns that businesses may resort to less than fair means to sell their product or services. But in a positive sign, overall ad fraud rates have improved in the second half of 2020 globally, according to the H2 2020 Media Quality Report (MQR) released by Integral Ad Science (IAS) a global leader in digital ad verification. 

Ad fraud rates improved in H2 2020

As marketers all across the globe adopted advanced techniques to detect and prevent fraud, global ad fraud rates improved overall, while optimised-against-ad-fraud levels dropped across all devices and environments. 

Ad fraud is the fraudulent representation of online advertisement impressions, clicks, conversion, or data events to generate revenue, and marketers have been using several tools to measure and prevent possible ad fraud. The report states that global fraud rates among optimised campaigns dropped between 0.3 to 0.8 per cent worldwide. On the other hand, non-optimised campaigns registered a 5.1 to 8.6 per cent drop based on device and environment. 

At the country level, India contributed to 1.4 per cent ad frauds in the desktop environments. Even though most of the countries witnessed an improvement in ad fraud levels, Japan and Australia became the only two markets where ad fraud rates significantly increased. 

Brand risk increased 

However, during the same period, the brand risk increased across several categories. The study conducted by IAS calculated brand risk based on the number of pages scored as a medium or higher risk to brands. Finding indicate that adult content was the primary driver that led to a surge in brand risks among all categories globally. 

The report stated that mobile web video contributed the highest for global brand risk at 8.6 per cent. Hate speech content also contributed to brand risk, especially on desktop video. Indonesia is the riskiest market for brand advertising in both desktop display and mobile web domain, while Canada was the only market to witness a decrease in brand risk. India recorded a total brand risk of 1.8 per cent on desktop display and a 2.8 per cent on mobile web display. 

Viewability rates show mixed results

As consumers continue to rely on digital media, viewability rates showed mixed results. According to the report, connected TV (CTV) viewability topped the video viewability rankings worldwide. CTV viewability reached 93.3 per cent globally, and it was followed by mobile app video viewability at 92.6 per cent. Mobile web video viewability increased by more than two per cent and reached 73.7 per cent. 

"As marketers evolved their strategies in the second half of 2020, our latest MQR report shows greater adoption of tools that mitigate ad fraud and brand risk around digital content,” said IAS chief marketing officer Tony Marlow. “These unique insights also showcase the huge opportunities for marketers related to contextual targeting and emerging platforms such as CTV. Right now, every impression counts, and ensuring ads are viewable by real people in the environments that align with campaign objectives has never been more important.'' 

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