Hope and hype: Avoiding advertising fraud in the hotly networked TV market

Ian Trider is VP of RTB Platform Operations at Basic technologies, a leading comprehensive, automated and intelligent SaaS platform for marketers.

Advertising tends to work in hype cycles. Native ads, mobile targeting, social media – all of these channels have been touted as long-awaited miracles for marketers and advertisers to break through the noise over the past decade.

Now with at least one connected television (CTV) in 80% of US households, advertisers are ready to realign their hopes again.

With seemingly high-quality content and a wide reach, CTV – often powered by Google Chrome, Roku, Apple TV or other devices – seems like a good advertisement at first glance. And with the looming obsolescence of third-party cookies causing panic over ad targeting on desktop and mobile, CTV has attractive inventory. However, for those who don’t want to do due diligence, there can be one major downside: it can be easy to fall victim to bad actors taking advantage of the hype CTV is currently experiencing.

For ad buyers – especially startups and more agile companies – CTV can be a viable and powerful channel to add to your ad mix. But first, it’s important to know that CTV advertising can carry unique risks. Don’t get carried away by the hype or taken advantage of by scammers. It is a wise strategy to invest the time and resources getting CTV advertising right before getting involved further.

Know the risks of CTV environments

CTV can reach new and niche audiences, but transparency can be a challenge. CTV ads don’t provide the technical visibility of ads on computers and mobile devices – often there is no client-side tracking of when an ad is shown.

This lack of transparency is just one of the risks purchasing CTV advertisements can bring. To get a fuller picture of the problem, we need to examine both the business and technical factors that make CTV unique:

  • High costs attract fraud. CTV inventory has a higher price per thousand impressions (CPM) than many other types of advertising. Scammers tend to have high CPM because it can maximize their return on investment. Combined with a fragile ad ecosystem, there is the potential for big profits with little effort – a perfect recipe for opportunists and bad actors.
  • Scarcity leads to low standards. CTV video inventory is inherently scarce. To achieve more, more CTV channels need to be built and content either produced or licensed. A domino effect occurs under these conditions. Ad platforms and networks are becoming over-eager to get enough inventory to keep business going, leading to lax delivery standards.

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