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How to Prevent Digital Advertising Fraud | WMI

27 Jan 2015 Sara Axelrod

in Digital


“It is essential that digital marketers truly receive the audience they pay for.”

Over the past several years, there has been an industry-wide movement to shift the digital unit of measure from a “served” to a “viewable” impression as the standard count. Increasingly more impressions are being served outside of the “viewable space,” resulting in significant “over-counting” of digital impressions. It is essential that digital marketers truly receive the valued audience they pay for. This standardization will also enable digital media measurement to be comparable to other forms of media.

Standardizing Digital Media Measurement

In 2011, the IAB, 4A’s, and ANA formed an initiative called Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) in an effort to simplify and standardize digital media measurement and tie it to results. As part of that initiative, the definition of a viewable impression was established. According to their guidelines, the definition of a viewable impression for a standard in-page display ad unit is that it is at least 50% viewable for a minimum of one second. In October 2014, the Media Rating Council (MRC) finalized guidelines, which represents progress in viewability verification. In the meantime, both the industry and Women’s Marketing are monitored the process very closely to guard against ad fraud.

How We Choose Preferred Partners

Women’s Marketing selects preferred partners based on many qualifying factors; viewability policies are a must-have to be considered for our Preferred Partners Program. We work only with partners that demand strict guidelines and monitor their impressions and digital media measurement closely. We also vet 3rd party monitoring tools that will allow us to add an extra layer of security for clients who opt-in to these services.

While many vendors are vigorously policing their own system, it is not yet perfect. We have seen great progress in the last few years with networks and exchanges black listing vendors that show concerns. The vendors that we work with are proactively monitoring before they even have the opportunity to serve; they are constantly looking for red flags and typically catch any issues that arise very quickly.

As monitoring technologies grow more universal and real-time, we believe the industry will course correct so that these impressions are no longer acceptable to have any value for sale. It is up to us, as media professionals, to keep the conversation active about digital advertising fraud to make sure those who sell impressions understand that anything less than truly “viewable” will not be accepted.