Digital Growth Presents Challenges
eMarketer reports that digital ad spend will continue its upward trajectory, topping $134.65 billion in 2014. While this is good news for the industry, the growth is not without its challenges. Chief among them is the growing scourge of suspicious traffic, created by cyberscammers who employ deceitful practices on unsuspecting advertisers.
The problem cannot be overstated. Integral Ad Science estimates that approximately 20% of web traffic stems from invalid activities, driving up the costs of marketing and putting the industry’s reputation at risk.
That is why fighting suspicious traffic is a top priority for OpenX and tight partnerships can play a key role in this battle.
Significant Investments to Defend Traffic Quality
OpenX firmly believes that ad exchanges and other supply sources must take a leading role in assuring traffic quality, and has invested heavily in the battle against suspicious activities. To that end, the company has built a dedicated team comprised of experts in fraud detection who have launched a proprietary real-time traffic filtration system and continuously monitors all traffic. In addition, OpenX has developed a stringent, non-negotiable supply policy and partners with Integral Ad Science to score page content for brand safety.
Despite these investments, some level of suspicious traffic persists as the moment one suspicious site is blocked another takes its place. John Murphy, VP of Marketplace Quality at OpenX explains, “There is a class of inventory we know is nefarious. Without a concerted effort to tackle the problem – and constant policing – even the best supply sources can fall prey to fraudulent traffic.”
Mr. Murphy points out that the buy-side too has a critical role to play in preventing fraud. Ad exchanges don’t have access to the advertiser metrics (such as conversion rate) that can reveal further fraud. When buyers see suspicious activity, they should raise the flag so that the supply-side can respond.
Collaboration with TellApart and OpenX
TellApart, a partner of OpenX, helps leading retailers leverage their data to personalize the customer experience and drive omni-channel commerce. TellApart’s integrated suite of marketing solutions allows marketers to deliver personalized messages in real time across display ads, Facebook, email and retail websites.
TellApart has a unique risk-free business model, clients only pay if a consumer clicks on a TellApart ad and then goes on to complete a purchase. The benefit of this model is its assurance that TellApart’s incentives are fully aligned with client goals. It is a significant departure from most of the industry, where most vendors charge for impressions and clicks – and are paid when those actions occur, regardless of traffic quality.
Suspicious Activity Identified by TellApart
Due to their business model, traffic quality is paramount to TellApart’s success. The company continually analyzes its clients’ campaign performance and in 2013 noticed some anomalies as they reviewed inventory purchased from the OpenX Ad Exchange. Specifically, TellApart identified a small set of users that were submitting a noticeable number of suspicious bids. Concerned the users might be bots, TellApart shared its findings with the OpenX Marketplace Quality team, who were able to immediately analyze the data, find the offenders and leverage the OpenX traffic filtration system to block users who exhibited these characteristics.
High Quality Results
The joint efforts of the TellApart and OpenX teams resulted in a healthier marketplace, an improvement that benefits all buyers on the OpenX Ad Exchange.
“High-quality traffic is the building block of successful digital marketing. Fraudulent parties like bots will always exist, and it takes the proactive work of both buyers and sellers to eliminate them from our ecosystem. Having a partner like OpenX makes this task easier because they share this common goal and are eager to work together to achieve it,” says Sanny Liao, Data Scientist at TellApart.
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