Native advertising platform TripleLift announced last week that it is partnering with White Ops to prevent fraudulent traffic on its platform. The move marks the first time a native exchange has offered pre-bid fraud prevention across its entire inventory.
Fraud ranks among the digital advertising industry’s most pervasive problems, with bots and fake accounts misrepresenting traffic, changing attributes of impressions received, and stealing advertising dollars. White Ops’ product targets and identifies these bots, even those that may perfectly impersonate human behavior.
As TripleLift has grown since its beginnings three years ago, the company has had to make choices between becoming “pure scale or pure premium,” said Eric Berry, TripleLift’s CEO. “This is really an attestation that we as a platform are choosing pure premium.”
Before partnering with White Ops, TripleLift tested samples of its traffic for fraudulent behavior using independent third-party tags. Even then, TripleLift saw that less than one percent of its impressions were fraudulent, but the company’s new partnership with White Ops aims to eliminate fraud entirely.
“The fact remains that testing whether or not something is a bot is really hard,” Berry said. “Whatever you might do to test whether or not it’s a bot, the bot might [evade the test].”
“It’s a constant game of cat and mouse,” he added.
White Ops was the first service to earn accreditation by the Media Ratings Council, an achievement that stood out to TripleLift as the latter sought a security partner, Berry said.
“Increasingly, some of the most premium buyers use White Ops as a fraud prevention tool, and we wanted to align with the metrics that they were using,” he added.
Still, as many advertising platforms look to increase security, others in the digital advertising ecosystem pay insufficient attention to fraud.
“Self-service supply side have the biggest risk,” Berry said, noting that the lack of human verification on an account can make it easier for fraudulent behavior to go unnoticed. By working directly with publishers, TripleLift already reduces its risk for fraud compared to self-service ad platforms.
But Berry added that some companies in this space have started to pay closer attention. Google, for example, acquired verification company Spider.io in 2014 to secure DoubleClick Ad Exchange against fraud.
“The more and more that our ecosystem rids itself of all forms of bad traffic, the more advertising and buyers will confidently transact in our ecosystem,” Berry said.
Likewise, ad arbitraging has lessened recently, and the value of impressions has increased within the industry, Berry added.
The difficulty of countering ad fraud is related to the scale of resources required to root fraud out. “To work with a leading partner like White Ops, it takes them a lot of power to scan every single bid,” Berry said. TripleLift sends each one of the billions of impressions it gets every day to White Ops for analysis.
Ultimately, though, the investment in such resources pays off in consumer trust gained.
“The impressions that we’re selling are impressions that are worth incurring that expense for,” Berry said.