SpringServe Partners With Protected Media to Cut Down on Video Ad Fraud and Fake Traffic

Partnership brings prebid and postbid verification to mobile platform

As video ad spend skyrockets, fraudsters are looking to profit, and security experts are scrambling to adapt. Getty Images

The video ad mavens at SpringServe announced a partnership with the security pros at Protected Media. By bringing “the latest measurement and verification tools” on board, SpringServe hopes to cut down on ad fraud and fake traffic on its programmatic video channels.

A recent report from eMarketer predicted the U.S.’s video ad spend will reach more than $33 million this year and balloon to more than $50 million by 2022. But along with a flood of cash in the CTV and OTT marketplaces, there’s been a flood of fraudsters looking to profit, while security experts scramble to adapt.

“The most important platforms in the world of online advertising are connected TV and OTT, and these are places where data science usually falls short,” said Protected Media CEO Asaf Greiner. “There’s so much diversity in these sources and so little history that it’s harder to measure than, say, in desktop.”

That’s why fraud in desktop has decreased over the years as it has climbed on mobile, Greiner added. And he has the numbers to back it up. A third-quarter study from Pixelate found that 19 percent of worldwide OTT impressions were invalid due in large part to fraud.

To combat that trend, Greiner is beefing up SpringServe’s verification process, both before and after an ad is served, to ensure any inventory bought is the real deal. Prebid fraud detection ensures that any scammy inventory is shuttered from the marketplace, while postbid detection gives advertisers insight into where a particular scam might be coming from.

Between the implementation of GDPR and ads.txt, advertisers in the digital space “have gone through a lot of traffic in these past few months,” Greiner said. “That puts a lot of stress on them to make a quick dollar, and often, that means committing fraud.”

Such fraud, he added, can take many forms—fraudulent publishers, bot-laden traffic and even click-jacking (where a user’s clicks are plucked to generate traffic on another publisher’s site).

“These guys are actually willing to lose money to keep their platform,” Greiner said of SpringServe. “They could have still made bad money from them and gotten a free pass but chose not to. And that’s a big deal.”

@swodinsky shoshana.wodinsky@adweek.com Shoshana Wodinsky is Adweek's platforms reporter, where she covers the financial and societal impacts of major social networks. She was previously a tech reporter for The Verge and NBC News.