There has been a record spike in ad fraud schemes, driven by connected TV, but video ads are actually seeing impressive growth in attention worldwide, according to new research.
Digital media measurement platform DoubleVerify has released its 2022 Global Insights Report, analysing media quality and performance trends from more than one trillion impressions delivered across over 2,100 brands in 80 markets.
This fifth year anniversary report explores how far the industry has come since 2017.
“The good news is that verification is working,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO, DoubleVerify. “DV’s first-ever Global Insights Report, published in 2017, reported display viewable rates at 52% and video viewable rates at 59%. Now, they are near or above 70%.
"Additionally we saw brand safety violations decrease for the second year in a row, while the number of fraud schemes we were able to protect our clients from increased. Based on our stats, it is clear that verification technology is making the internet stronger, safer and more secure.”
The report provides a market-by-market analysis for North America, LATAM, EMEA and APAC across video and display impressions measured year-over-year (YoY) from January-December 2021, including desktop and mobile web, mobile app, and connected TV (CTV). Key takeaways from our analysis this year include:
Record spike in fraud schemes, driven by CTV and Video
The number of fraud schemes uncovered by DV spiked by over 70% year-over-year from 2020 to 2021. This year, an unprecedented number of schemes targeted CTV and video – the most complex and sophisticated of which included OctoBot, SneakyTerra, ViperBot and SmokeScreen. DV estimates these schemes alone attempted to steal more than $6-8 million each month from advertisers - and are costing publishers, too. DV estimates show that these CTV schemes alone may have syphoned $140 million from publishers in 2021.
Brand safety violations decrease for second year in a row
The post-bid brand suitability violation rate continues to fall, and is now 9% lower than last year for an overall rate of 7.1% - meaning advertisers see brand suitability violation rates decrease as their verification strategy matures. DV also saw momentum for a brand safety and suitability floor. In 2019, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) and the 4A’s released the brand safety floor and suitability framework.
The brand safety floor identifies topics and content that are considered unsafe and never appropriate for monetisation. Ninety-three percent of the advertisers DV analyzed leverage at least one brand safety floor category for avoidance, blocking and or monitoring, and 61% use all floor categories.
Video ads see impressive growth in attention, driven by CTV
Video Completion typically refers to the number of times a video plays to the end, often broken up into quartile metrics to indicate levels of video performance and attention (e.g. 25% Complete, 50% Complete, 75% Complete, 100% Complete).
DV has seen moderate, steady improvement in quartile-level completion rates for quartiles 1, 2, and 3 over the last three years. However, Video Completion Rate (VCR) has drastically improved from 62% in 2019, to 67% in 2020, to 71% in 2021. This increase is likely due to increased measurement on CTV, where VCR climbed 3% year-over-year and is now at 95.6%.
Pre-bid verification boosts media quality and performance
Increased adoption of pre-bid verification is driving declines in post-bid violations (brand safety/suitability, fraud and geo infractions). Pre-bid activation of verification solutions allows advertisers to reduce blocks by evaluating whether a programmatic impression will be brand-suitable, fraud-free, and in geo before the bid takes place. Advertisers deploying pre-bid verification through the media transaction are seeing marked improvement in the quality of their buys, with post-bid violation rates falling 6% year-over-year. Overall, DV advertisers now experience an average of just 10% post-bid violations across all quality measurement criteria.
Experience is driving more sophisticated verification strategies
The number of years a brand has worked with a verification provider typically equates to greater sophistication and understanding of the value of such verification tools, ultimately resulting in lower violation rates, greater campaign quality, and efficiency.
DV found that long-standing verification users are most likely to adopt a wider set of verification tools, preventing fraud and brand suitability infractions before an ad is served. These advanced advertisers saw a 9.4% post-bid violation rate in 2021–6% below the global average and 28% below more recent adopters.
For EMEA and the UK, specifically, key findings include:
Fraud rate decreased 22% year-over-year, and although EMEA is behind APAC and LATAM, it is below the global average.
Brand suitability violation rates declined year-over-year, but EMEA is far behind North America and APAC. This may be because EMEA advertisers serve on more mobile web and longtail inventory than do advertisers in other regions.
EMEA saw very little change in viewability YoY. Although its display viewable rate is below 70% and could improve, this kind of levelling off suggests advertisers in the region are beginning to focus on KPIs beyond viewability.
“This year’s report finds that media quality is table stakes,” added Zagorski. “No longer is it acceptable to assume that a portion of media dollars will be wasted on fraud, or potentially exposed to brand suitability concerns. Advertisers have demanded quality, understanding that it is a prerequisite to achieving performance.”