Profile Image: Kyle Smith
It’s easy to think of ad fraud in the context of only a problem that exists and is talked about, but not as an actual issue that touches you or your business directly. You might arrive at that conclusion if you’ve never experienced a sizable clawback or had a dispute with a partner. There was a time when disputes were regular occurrence, and any issue would be well known to both parties via said dispute. However, that is not always the case these days.

In today’s highly automated programmatic world of adtech, invalid traffic or IVT becomes factored into buying algorithms and machine learning processes. The disputes of yesterday are too time consuming and waste valuable business resources. It’s much easier to simply measure and then make adjustments on the fly.

What do I mean?

At the end of the day, somebody is paying the bills and that somebody also needs to realize the value for their ad spend. Translated bluntly, buyers absolutely need to be able to meet or exceed the KPIs for their campaigns to justify their spend. Without any key performance the bid, impression, traffic, etc. is worthless.
Ad Fraud Reputation
The best and easiest way to degrade KPIs is invalid traffic. Given this, it is very much worthwhile for buyers to not only optimize away from IVT, but to lower bids on placements that are commonly swarming with invalid traffic.

At this point you might be thinking to yourself as a publisher, a network, or even at the exchange level that nobody has contacted you and made you aware of any such issues. But that’s where we are today, they don’t have too. If they see a problem or even think there is an issue, buyers will adjust their bidding to best align with their goals. This means that either your bid density will decrease, your average clearing price will lower, or both. This level of streamlining is far easier then manually disputing issues month over month.

The best and only defense you have against this is to identify and remove invalid traffic from your programmatic supply. Doing so makes your placements and inventory look better to the buyside. You’re also giving them the best possible chance of meeting their campaign goals when doing business with you.

By keeping your supply clean, you can build a reputation as a trustworthy source and buyers will notice.

About Kyle: I started one of the leading ad networks in the early 2000s. After the dawn of programmatic, we became an SSP and went on to host billions and billions of monthly openRTB and header bidding auctions. Over the past 20 years, I've worked with many exchanges, thousands of direct publishers and advertisers of all sizes, and have seen the effects of ad fraud firsthand. Today, I run We help individuals and companies across the entire spectrum of adtech detect invalid traffic and prevent ad fraud within multiple mediums including display, video, mobile, app, and CTV.
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