In the world of programmatic, where technology and software do all the heavy lifting in the execution of a campaign, 2014 brought to light two well-documented problems: Digital Ad Fraud and viewability.
A study released in July by the Association of National Advertisers estimated anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of digital ad spend in 2014 was being wasted on systems that produce phony traffic. In an even more recent study, the same organization predicted that advertisers will lose approximately $6.3 billion dollars to fraudulent ad impressions in 2015.
So, what does this mean for marketers? What can you do today to protect yourself in the future? How can you leverage your advertising technology and platform partnerships to increase advertising ROI?
We’ve put together some questions and answers that will help you stay ‘ahead of the curve’, avoid fraud and ensure viewability so you can make the most of your digital marketing budget in 2015.
Note: If you want any further reading or definitions of terms, check out this Glossary on Ad Fraud.
Understand Your Vendor, Supply Source and Offerings
It is imperative you know how and where the platforms and technology partners are spending your marketing budget.
Here are some questions you can ask when evaluating a partner:
1. How is the ad impression being measured?
Traditionally it is at the ad server level – meaning the impression is counted when an ad call occurs, not when an image has fully appeared on the page.
2. Are they accountable for the quality of their inventory?
Find out how your vendor measures the quality of their inventory or check with third-party ratings sites. The Trustworthy Accountability Group (or TAG) has a plan for an accreditation system, which qualified sellers can use to assure buyers that their inventory meets certain standards. Likewise Pixalate, a programmatic advertising analytics platform, has released its first monthly Global Seller Trust Index, which ranks programmatic advertising sellers.
Note: LiveIntent has less than 1% fraud, but does not appear on these lists because they focus on focus on web display – not email display. What’s the difference? Check that out here.
3. How transparent is the inventory?
Transparency is an issue everywhere, but it never hurts to ask what the ratio is of longtail to shorttail sites and the type of layout these sites have. Where the ads are placed, how many ads slots are available, and the quality of the content all factor into the true value of an impression.
4. Do they offer a fraud-free tool?
You need to know that they have a process or a tool for weeding out fraudulent impressions – either proactively or retrospectively – so that you know your budget is being used wisely.
5. Are they are they an accredited viewable impression vendor?
You can find this out easily by visiting the Media Rating Council (MRC).
Note: Your vendor may have a platform built to support vCPM such as Google, Facebook, Medialets, Kargo, and Nativo. Read more about vCPM here. As for LiveIntent, by being in email, “viewability” was never really an issue. Read more about that here.
Expect More and Demand Higher Standards
Marketers can’t just expect vendors and partners to adapt – they need to think about how they can adjust their thinking, as well.
Here are some things to consider when measuring your advertising ROI and performance:
1. Adopt New Metrics for Measurement
Metrics like vCPM and engagement can tell a richer story as to how your budget is being spent. Another interesting idea is determining the “net-new” customers acquired as a way to measure advertising effectiveness rather than measuring how cost efficient it was to acquire the customer.
2. Review Past Performance for Future Strategies
When reviewing upper funnel to mid funnel strategies, consider the ratio of earned revenue from existing customers against the cost customer acquisition for future strategies.
3. Consider Ad Placement in Attribution
When applying an attribution model, consider the quality of ad placements where the campaign ran. You don’t want to contribute a conversion to last event when ad placement was below the fold on an impression that was not viewable.
4. Be Proactive and Get Verified
How Does Liveintent Stack Up?
Let’s take a second to put our money where our mouth is and, in the spirit of transparency, give you the skinny on how we stack-up on these issues:
1. What We Count as an Impression
Liveintent serves ads on the open of an email when all images download or in Outlook when the email subscriber selects “Download Images.” We never count an impression that never has a chance to be seen.
2. Quality of Our Traffic
We’re 99.75% fraud-free because our inventory is made up of active, engaged people that have subscribed to this content using the only digital ID tied to a real person: the email address.
3. Cross-Device Attribution
Because a person’s email hash remains the same across every device and browser, our data and targeting works across every device and browser, making accurate cross-device attribution possible. We also support mobile responsive design to ensure the right ad appears on the right device.
3. No Pixel Stuffing
We don’t support Java or iFrames, eliminating the fraudulent “pixel stuffing.”
4. Total Transparency
Want to see what ads look like in our email inventory? Go to our “Newsletter Directory” to pull reports of advertiser performance, suppliers, and creative viewability.