Advertisers are losing millions: marketers must take fraud on streaming devices seriously

This summer, Ofcom revealed that more consumers than ever are switching off linear TV and turning on streaming and on-demand services instead. It's more critical than ever that marketers ensure they’re advertising in the right way and on the right platforms.

Nick Reid, SVP & Managing Director of EMEA for DoubleVerify (DV) delves into the current opportunities for marketers in the CTV and digital advertising space, and the challenges they need to navigate - particularly with the new fraud threats DV’s Fraud Lab is seeing…

The number of people in the UK watching linear TV has been declining for some time, and Ofcom’s latest Media Nations report suggests it’s not a trend that’s likely to change anytime soon. Nearly 20 million UK homes now subscribe to at least one paid streaming service, according to Statista, and many more are using services that feature an ad-funded model like All4 or Pluto TV. It’s a really exciting time to be in advertising when the technology is changing so quickly.

However, advertisers must be vigilant. As well as consumers, the streaming surge is also potentially attractive to fraudsters, enticed by the comparatively high CPMs they could access. Fraudsters follow the money and marketers must become savvier to unlock CTV’s value and capture engagement on the home’s largest screen. 

Amidst this huge potential there are also challenges brands cannot ignore; safeguarding their investment from suitability violations and combating the impact of fraudsters. Here’s how brands can navigate bad actors and unlock the opportunity of CTV while reducing risks.  

Advertisers need sight of CTV viewability

CTV consumption has been growing exponentially, with year-over-year viewability rates increasing by 252% in the UK according to DoubleVerify’s (DV) Global Insights Report (GIR). However, in this country, where marketers are used to buying inventory from traditional broadcasters, they’re not always equipping themselves with the right tools to tackle challenges on this emergent channel. 

First and foremost, on CTV, advertisers are facing a viewability issue that they may not even be aware of. Marketers often assume ads on CTV are on screen by default - similar to how they would be on a traditional broadcast inventory - but that’s not the case. 

In a fragmented ecosystem, different platforms and apps often have different tracking standards making measurement difficult. Ads may not be fully in view, or worse - in fact, more than 1 in 4 top CTV environments continue to play ads after the TV is turned off. Marketers need to recognise these risks and prepare for them. By utilising fully on-screen targeting solutions, CTV marketers can ensure that ads have the potential to be seen, mitigating the risk of wasting premium ad spend on unviewed ads.

Fraudsters continue to take advantage of under-protected advertisers

While viewability is an essential baseline for ads on CTV, marketers also need to be proactive in protecting their investments. As technology advances for advertisers, fraudsters are consistently seeking new ways to work around defences and syphon off the growing spend on CTV. As such, fraud schemes have tripled since 2020, with last year seeing CTV bot fraud growing by 69%

As fraud continues to proliferate in the CTV sector, marketers must prioritise protection. DV’s GIR 2023 report data shows that for unprotected advertisers, CTV fraud violations are 17.6 times higher than those who run ad campaigns with protections in place. In other words, advertisers can waste hundreds of thousands of pounds on their ads, as well as producing viewability numbers significantly lower than protected campaigns. 

Utilising key safeguarding technology is proven to improve the validity of the campaign and prevent money from going into the hands of bad actors. In turn, it protects not just individual brands, but the whole industry.  

A thriving future of CTV advertising starts with protection  

In the grand scheme of advertising, CTV is still young, which goes some way to explaining these teething problems. However, it still presents an incredible opportunity for brands to reach consumers in the home, and there’s plenty to be optimistic about in its future. 

Despite the rises in CTV fraud over recent years, overall fraud violations have in fact decreased globally across the industry - EMEA saw a 15% reduction in general fraud/SIVT violations in 2022 according to DV’s research. This signals show that marketers are moving in the right direction - and third-party solutions providers are winning the fraud fight. 

From dedicated fraud prevention labs, to accredited solutions, the investments made by third-party providers are paying dividends. With new breakthroughs in protection continuing, brands can safely harness the trajectory of streaming services and increased CTV penetration - which is only likely to grow with platforms launching ad-supported tiers - and maximise the value of their investments. 

Unlocking CTV is a game-changer for brands

Considering the ever-changing capabilities of fraudsters, suitability, and viewability issues, third-party solutions are vital in helping brands to stay a step ahead and, in turn, unlock real impact for their brands through CTV. 

It all starts with ensuring brands have a baseline of quality in their CTV placements. For instance, only when they have the opportunity to be seen in a fraud-free, brand suitable environment, can they then begin optimising those placements for specific outcomes. 

To do this, advertisers must recognise the importance of advancements in the ad tech industry for protecting campaigns. By partnering with trusted, accredited, third-party solutions they can ensure they are driving ROI from their investments - ultimately enabling them to take their brand advertising campaigns from strength to strength in the rapidly evolving and exciting world of CTV.

By Nick Reid

SVP & Managing Director EMEA