Since thrust into the public eye over the last 12 months, ad fraud and transparency have become two of the industry’s biggest concerns; with the outpouring of bad press over the last year, advertisers and agencies alike have been pushed towards real, demonstrable transparency.
In a bid to explore the major efforts being undertaken to tackle ad fraud, NMPi’s head of business strategy, Damien Bennett, joined Adloox’s vice president of UK and Europe, Jessica Bradley to speak to the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) and use agency experience to discover what the industry should be doing to make a difference.
PIPCU takes on Ad Fraud
One major category of online malpractice causing the police concern is illegal websites, which stream stolen content. According to Bradley, as long as ads are landing on these pages, they’re generating revenue, and they’re always going to exist.
PIPCU’s first step towards regulation was to go to the home of one of the most common forms of advertising on these sites: the Gambling Commission. By adjusting their contract, businesses regulated by the Gambling Commission are no longer authorised to appear on illegal sites. This was the first real move in the crackdown on ad fraud.
Over the next few years, Adloox hopes that the industry will see a massive shift in the way fraud is dealt with, and advertisers will be forced to take more accountability for where their ads end up.
The YouTube Problem
With high profile brands like Marks and Spencer removing their ads from YouTube, the press have had a field day. It is a conversation Bradley often has with new clients: “What do I do about YouTube?”.
Google’s Matt Brittin explained YouTube’s plan to address brand safety concerns, namely that the site would be retrospectively looking at all brand safety issues, and reviewing inappropriate channels that were not supposed to exist, let alone advertise.
However, no-one knows what they are doing proactively to stop this from happening. Until YouTube lets verification experts in, with third party transparency and measurement, it’s still going to be very murky waters.
When will this be? Well, it looks promising. At the end of last year, Adloox signed a beta partnership agreement with YouTube to let them start testing over Q1 and Q2 this year, with a view to having a full integration. But brands and advertisers can still help push back.
Bradley reiterates that it’s up to each company how it spends its budget. You can request YouTube works more closely with verification experts or you’ll stop spending money, but eventually, YouTube will have to accept that they must be more transparent or risk falling revenue.
One of the big problems is that advertisers and agencies aren’t challenging industry standards. No one pushes for the data or information that could change the way the industry functions.
We accept lower viewability levels. We accept higher levels of brand unsafety. But really – demand more. Demand more from your agency and demand more from the software you’re using.
Ruth Pinion is junior marketing manager at NMPi.