CTV Ad Fraud: The Not-So-Innocent New Toy in the Media Industry


The media industry has been buzzing about Connected TV (CTV) as the latest and greatest medium for advertising. But before you jump on the bandwagon, you might want to know that CTV is not without its flaws, particularly in the area of ad fraud. While many media buyers might assume that the limited streaming TV inventory and the difficulties in breaking into the supply would make CTV a fraud-free environment, it’s not the case.

According to Oleg Korenfeld, the Chief Technology Officer of CMI Media Group, this assumption is far from true. In fact, CTV ad fraud is not only a risk but it’s also exploding. Ad fraud schemes spiked 70% YoY from 2020 to 2021, according to DoubleVerify, and cost advertisers an estimated $140 million, with an “unprecedented amount” of those schemes caught in streaming video. So, why are advertisers losing so much money to CTV ad fraud?

The answer lies in the fact that publishers don’t have the necessary technological tools in place to detect and prevent illegitimate traffic, like bots, from infiltrating their systems. Meanwhile, advertisers are left in the dark about the true impressions they’re buying and are often forced to rely on third-party ad fraud and verification tech partners to minimize the risk of buying fraudulent supply.

But even with these precautions, there’s no guarantee. All too often, buyers don’t even realize they’ve lost ad dollars to a fraud scheme until it’s too late – if they ever find out at all. Korenfeld warned that this is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

Enter Pixalate, the market-leading fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform for CTV and mobile advertising. They’ve just released new iCloud Private Relay (iCPR) Invalid Traffic (IVT) detection features in their Analytics dashboard to help clients measure their exposure to iCPR traffic. The company found that 21% of US mobile and desktop Safari traffic in Q4 2022 was associated with iCloud Private Relay traffic and this new IVT type covers potentially fraudulent behavior within that traffic.

Pixalate’s new features provide several benefits to advertisers, including the ability to assess the impact of IP-based targeting capabilities on Apple devices, measure iCPR IVT, evaluate IVT exposure, analyze sources, and perform supply path analysis. The company even compiled data related to this investigation, including the top iCPR IVT IPs, top associated data center IPs, and top publisher domains impacted in December 2022.

But why is all this important? Because it shows that even the shiniest and most high-tech toys can still be affected by ad fraud. CTV may be the future of advertising, but it’s not without its risks. Advertisers need to be vigilant and proactive in their fight against ad fraud, regardless of the medium. With Pixalate’s new iCPR IVT detection features, advertisers can have peace of mind knowing that they’re taking steps to minimize their exposure to fraud.

So, next time you’re considering a CTV ad campaign, remember that it might not be as squeaky clean as you think. But with the help of Pixalate, you can be sure that you’re not throwing your ad dollars down the drain.

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