CTV Ad Fraud is Set to Spike Over Christmas Period

15 December, 2021 

DoubleVerify has conducted research into ad fraud which shows that CTV fraud is set to peak over the holiday period. In a sample of unprotected programmatic inventory, DoubleVerify found that 18 percent of CTV ads were fraudulent or sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT), and that 6.6 percent of video ads were found to be fraud or SIVT. 

DV has also released data that shows a spike in ad fraud over the holiday period. The data details two schemes that were uncovered by DoubleVerify. 

The first scheme is called “LeoTerra”, and was uncovered by DV in July 2020. LeoTerra exploits vulnerabilities in server-side ad insertion (SSAI), and acts to falsify CTV inventory across different apps, IPs and devices. Research from DV found that the fraud scheme has intensified over the holiday season. 

LeoTerra is falsifying up to 20.5 million CTV devices a day. This represents a 40 times increase from the last three months’ average. 

The lead up to Christmas, and to Thanksgiving in the US market, sees increased spend and attention time on ads, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that ad fraud also increases. DV’s CEO also notes that CTV has been, in some ways, a victim of its own success here. 

“The adage holds true, fraud follows the money,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO at DoubleVerify. “The more in-demand and premium the inventory, the more likely it is to attract bad actors.”

However, even though Q4 always sees increased ad fraud, LeoTerra has still carried out significantly more fraudulent activity than this time last year. It is falsifying over 20 times more CTV devices than it was at the end of 2020. 

Another ad fraud scheme uncovered by DV is mobile fraud scheme, “CelloTerra”. This scheme carries out fraud by using mobile ads to run background ads and falsify CTV traffic. CelloTerra has also spiked over the holiday period. In Q4, the scheme has tripled the amount of fraudulent activity it carries out. 

Zagorski says that advertisers must take steps against CTV ad fraud as they invest more heavily in the platform. 

“As advertisers shift budgets to CTV inventory and platforms, the need to understand performance and measurability across the channel is now more important than ever,” said Zagorski. “Given the growing complexity of these schemes — with fraudsters continuously employing new techniques, the entities representing or selling fraudulent inventory may not be directly responsible or even understand that fraud is taking place.”

2021-12-15T14:02:14+01:00

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