It’s a simple question.  Will my ad be seen by a real person? 

The answer should be easy. It’s either yes or no.

However, the measurement methodologies among verification partners vary which can make for a lot of grey area in between.  And that leads to confusion.

According to a study conducted by RhythmOne and Ad Age that looked at programmatic buying behaviors and concerns (download full report), the greatest challenge facing advertisers (52.9% of respondents) is inconsistent measurement methodologies.  One issue that is unilateral among verification organizations is that results aren’t available in real time and reflect only an individual campaign (vs the entire ecosystem).  In fact, some of the data that is being measured against could be up to 30 days old – or more.  Another issue is that verification doesn’t happen before the bid and isn’t part of the buy/don’t buy decision.  In an effort to solve some of the ambiguity, IAB recently introduced new tagging that will help gain better transparency into data presented.

Since methodologies do differ from one verification partner to the next, advertisers and agencies should keep in mind some of the following questions to determine if they are the right fit:

  1. What verticals do they specialize in? Often, a verification partner will have sweet spots that they have the most traffic/data to refer to.
  2. What Geos do they cover?
  3. How often is their data updated?
  4. Does the data buying platform provide any refunds based on fraud rates – or will they go to supply partner to negotiate and refund?
  5. Can they explain about their thresholds for determining fraud?

Looking ahead
Since the technology exists to conduct pre-bid fraud checks, it seems readily apparent that in the not-so-distant-future, supply partners will need to have greater accountability. Further, Advertisers (if they aren’t already) need to look closely at the quality of a supply partner’s inventory. Lastly, the industry will have to work together to build a better verification mouse trap in order to grow trust among all parties.