How Ad Verification Works and Why You Should Care
19 July 2021
The world is steadily progressing further and further into the digital age. Many people use the digital tools now available to advance their businesses.
Digital advertising is a large business as many want to take advantage of a global audience. As digital advertising grows, so does the need to make sure that the adverts are effective.
No one wants to waste money on bad advertising.
However, the more opportunities for digital advertising, the more opportunities there are for fraud. Thus, the need for ad verification arose.
Both marketers and publishers want ad campaigns that are effective, reach the target audience, and do not send the wrong message. This is where ad verification comes in.
But what is it and why should you care about it?
What is Ad Verification?
Digital advertising campaigns used to be quite simple. Websites were cleaner and there were fewer advertisement formats.
In general, when a business placed an ad online, it was almost certain to get views.
Nowadays, there are several thousand websites and different ad formats. Not to mention the many hackers that create havoc for advertisers and campaigns.
This means that even when advertisers spend money on a digital ad, viewers don’t always see it. To overcome these challenges, businesses turned to ad verification technology.
This checks their advertisements for any discrepancies that hinder optimal delivery. The ad verification process checks the quality and visibility of ad impressions in real-time.
It makes sure that an advertisement appears on the right website, at the right time, and at the right spot. It ensures that the advert is seen by real people in the correct context and by the target audience.
Why are Ad Verification Solutions Important?
Ad verification solutions are very important to protect marketers and their ad spend. But it is also important because it protects advertisement publishers.
Ad verification protects in eleven main ways:
- It protects the brand image of a business
- It boosts ad campaign performance
- It makes sure that their advertising dollars are well spent
- It makes sure the brand is safe from unwanted content associations
- It ensures a quality impression
- It protects from potential consumer privacy conflicts
- It protects ads from websites with bad UIs
- It prevents fraudsters from interfering with advertisements
- Ensures that a digital ad matches the specified terms for an ad campaign
- Surveys ad exchanges and ad networks to uncover ad buys that do not meet the standards of the advertiser
- Provides advertisement reporting
As digital advertising gains traction, so does advertisement fraud. Some set up fake websites and simulate a large amount of traffic so advertisers pay to display ads there.
Or hackers redirect users to a different location after clicking on an advertisement. This reduces the amount of income the business gets.
Other problems include ad placements being near offensive content. This affects the brand image.
Or the placement of the ad is such that it is not being viewed or it does not capture consumer attention. It’s clear that many problems can arise when it comes to online advertising.
The digital advertising industry wants to optimize its ad spending. So their focus is on creating new ad quality standards.
They are also determined to make digital advertising transparent and accountable.
Verification companies help marketers make smart decisions with their ad spend. They help advertisers navigate privacy legislation laws.
They also build confidence in the digital ecosystem. Ad verification could change how marketers buy media and how advertisements are valued.
How Does Ad Verification Work?
Ad verification works by deploying verification tags or beacons inside the ad markup.
The verification tag analyzes the content of the publisher’s page, the location of the ad, and how many viewers see it. Then, it sends a report to the advertiser or agency so they can analyze the data.
The point of ad verification is to have an impartial third party verify the delivery of the ads. In general, the advertiser will have a separate login than the verification vendor.
Or sometimes it is more seamlessly integrated with a demand-side platform.
Ad verification cannot prevent advertisements from showing up in undesirable places. But it can fend off hackers, frauds, and publishers with little visibility.
It’s possible to block tracked ads from showing up on certain pages. This happens if a page does not have the right context according to the parameters laid out for an ad campaign.
Those parameters include the geographical location and the surrounding content. Ad verification helps the ad campaign in its early stages by blacklisting pages and publishers known for low visibility or fraud.
Ad verification companies provide regular reports of the data collected from tracked advertisements.
These reports highlight the blocked pages and ad calls. This allows publishers to troubleshoot or adjust ad placement.
Who Benefits from Ad Verification?
Verifying ads protects marketers. It helps them use advertisers’ money in the best way possible.
But it also benefits publishers in various ways.
How Advertisers Benefit:
- It protects their marketing budget
- It ensures that campaigns are as effective as possible at capturing consumer attention
- It ensures that ads are being displayed according to an agreed-upon contract
- It encourages publishers to be honest and transparent about their website traffic
How Publishers Benefit:
- It gives them better control of the advertisements they run on their website
- It helps minimize the risk of running fraudulent ads on their site
- It protects their users from any unnerving and harmful experiences. Thus, it fortifies the relationship between website owner and viewer
- It provides an automated ad quality enforcer
Because of its security measures, ad verification protects advertisers, publishers, and internet users.
What Ad Verification Offers to Ad Impressions
Brand Safety and Brand Suitability
It is important to understand the difference between brand safety and brand suitability. How does it affect you?
Brand safety is a strategy to prevent negative brand perception. It is a proactive strategy.
It seeks to avoid harmful influences and associations from neighboring undesirable content.
Brand suitability takes a different approach. The brand suitability strategy focuses on understanding the context of ad placements.
It involves understanding where ads will appear, how viewers will interact with them, and how they engage the audience.
Ad verification companies have established categories. These categories help advertisers to define content that is undesirable for their brand.
This ensures that their ads are not displayed next to such content. Some of those categories include:
- Adult content
- Copyright infringement content
Fraudsters have taken full advantage of digital tools. Fraudulent advertisements and traffic have plagued the internet since its beginning.
All involved in marketing should eliminate malicious ad content as fast as possible. This is because it impacts revenue and trust.
Ad verification helps manage the risk of running fraudulent ads.
It protects publishers from running the ad and potentially hurting their viewers. It also protects advertisers from fraudsters diverting consumer attention to other places.
Fraudulent activity affects both direct and exchange campaigns.
Publishers are the last link between marketers and clients. So their load is greater in minimizing malicious ads.
Publishers are also responsible for third-party and direct campaigns. Some fraudulent activities include:
Hidden and invisible advertisements
Hidden advertisements are invisible on the website. But the ad impression is still reported.
This fraudulent activity conceals the real website that is displaying the ad.
Also known as advertisement replacement. This means that malware hijacks the ad slot on a website.
It displays an ad and generates revenue for the attacker instead of the owner of the ad or the owner of the website.
This is similar to ad hijacking. An attacker hijacks a user’s clicks.
This attack uses pop-unders. These are similar to pop-up windows except that they appear behind the main web browser instead of in front of it.
So the advertisement appears behind the main window.
Botnet traffic consists of compromised computers or a set of cloud servers and proxies. The bot traffic generates revenue by faking clicks and gaming attribution models.
Fraudsters can use desktops, laptops, and mobile apps to imitate human activity. They build large audiences of fake users.
Fraudsters use install farms to imitate human activity. They use teams of real people to install and interact with apps.
Malicious pieces of code run programs or perform an action. They send clicks, installs, and in-app events that never actually happen.
They are sent to an attribution system and take false credit for user engagement.
Viewability refers to whether the ad is in a viewable space of the browser according to pre-established criteria. This may include the percent of ad pixels or the length of time the advertisement is in viewable space.
Viewable space does not necessarily mean that the ad is above the fold. It means that the ad is in a spot where the target audience will view it.
For example, if the target audience is interested in the content at the bottom of the webpage, then place the advert there. The ad will have a better impact if it is near relevant content and if it is where the audience is spending more time.
There are several tactics that help place advertisements in the most impactful location. Using geo-targeting for mobile-based audiences is one.
Geo-targeting is also known as Location Verification. It is a powerful way to personalize advertisements and achieve a higher level of views.
It can place ads at the point of sale where it influences customer behavior. It is an advanced marketing strategy that drives in-store conversions.
It involves identifying the location of the audience and placing ads in front of them that relate to that location.
Accepted methods of geo-targeting:
- Human review. This is based on serving locations and is primarily used for following-up
- Use of site registration and other data provided by the user that contains location information
- Third-party Geo Vendor IP datasets with appropriate exceptions and conflict resolution procedures
- This includes agents that execute complex page functions.
But it is difficult to use as a stand-alone method.
What a Verification Company Should Offer to Digital Advertising
No single service provider can provide complete protection. It is also unrealistic to expect all the parameters above to be measured for each campaign.
However, an ad verification service should help with ad campaign planning and quality. It should also assist with ad tracking, ad data, and other services.
Ad verification integrates with all aspects of digital marketing. So it should provide an all-round service that keeps advertisements running smoothly and efficiently.
A high-quality ad verification company should provide the following services:
Ad Quality Monitoring
Ad quality monitoring ensures that viewers have a pleasant, engaging, and safe experience. A high-quality service should monitor the many aspects of advertisement quality.
This includes creativity, privacy protection, data leakage, operational issues, and more.
Mobile Ad Management
Mobile devices are like a whole separate world from laptops and desktops. They are more vulnerable to issues due to their interface, apps, software, and more.
Issues include MRAID malware, auto-redirects, auto-downloads, phishing, pop-ups, VPAID errors, and more.
Quality services will prevent these issues from damaging advertisements. They will also make sure that users have a good experience.
Quality verification services should identify and prevent malicious activities that compromise advertisements. Scanning the rotating ad tags can prevent malicious activity.
The Verified Opinion on Ad Verification
Advertisement performance and brand imaging are under attack by multiple factors. Some factors that affect the performance of an ad and a brand’s image include:
- Fraudulent activity
- Placement next to inappropriate content. This may cause viewers to associate the brand with that content or think the brand endorses it
- Placement in a space that is not viewable to the target consumers
Ad verification stands up to and helps conquer these challenges. It also provides many benefits.
- increases the performance of advertisements
- places ads in viewable spaces
- makes sure advertisements are surrounded by appropriate content
- ensures ads display according to an agreed-upon contract
- prevents fraudulent activity
- makes efficient use of marketing budgets
- encourages website traffic transparency
Ad verification is part of a movement to eliminate harmful and fraudulent ad activity. It helps to make better use of ad space.
It is important because it protects advertisers, publishers, and viewers.
If you enjoyed reading this article on ad verification, you should check out this one about what is AdTech.
We also wrote about a few related subjects like MVP tests, personalization algorithms, how to hire a web development team, software development budget, financial projections for startups, financial software development companies, proof of concept vs prototype, and behavioral targeting.