US distribution channels certified by Trustworthy Accountability Group’s (TAG) certified programme have enjoyed a precipitous 90% decline in ad fraud, according to a benchmark study conducted by The 614 Group.
Established in 2016 to bring law and order to the digital advertising supply chain and promote brand safety, TAG claims it is the first and only Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) for the digital advertising industry.
A dip in fraudulent traffic
148 companies are now in possession of TAG's certified against ad fraud seal, having complied with a range of anti-fraud guidelines.
TAG's 2020 US fraud benchmark study established that of over 600 members, 90% had experienced a reduction in fraud among certified distribution channels.
Moreover, the report found an invalid traffic rate of just 1.05% across certified channels, far below an industry average of 10.83%.
For the first time, the efficacy of TAG's countermeasures in the connected TV sector were measured an invalid traffic rate of just 0.6%.
In four years of continuous benchmarking, the invalid traffic rate has been observed to fall from 1.48% in 2017 to 1.05% in 2020.
‘Strong progress against ad fraud’
Digging into the findings TAG chief executive Mike Zaneis said: "Criminals usually profit during times of disruption and turmoil, but the commitment of TAG members to aggressive anti-fraud standards has helped us continue to drive strong progress this year against fraud."
Acknowledging that ad fraud is a never-ending battle Zeneis continues: "As advertising budgets were reduced, measurable business results have become even more critical, so, we're pleased that this research demonstrates how use of TAG Certified Channels can have a positive impact on the bottom line. We may never eliminate fraud, but our industry's continued collaborative efforts will keep fraud rates predictable, manageable, and low."
According to CHEQ, cybersecurity specialists for digital media, ad fraud will cost businesses $35bn this year alone, with a further $5bn hit arriving in the form of indirect social and economic costs. Should this come to pass digital ad fraud will overtake $27bn of credit card fraud to become the go-to medium for criminals.
The latest results come in the slipstream of a separate Integral Ad Science study which found tentative signs of improvements to digital brand safety and viewability in the UK, where the threat of mobile web video programmatic risk receded by 1.8% to 5.6% compared to the second half of 2019.