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Unruly and Tremor Video Unite To Lead The Fight Against COVID-19’s Rising Ad Fraud

Concerns around ad fraud, brand safety and the powerful threat they pose to the health of the digital ecosystem have become even more pressing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to recent research from Clean.io, there has been a huge surge in ad fraud since the beginning of March. It’s “global threat level” — a percentage calculation of the number of threats clean.io blocked divided by the number of analysed page views — was 50 times higher during the surge to the end of March relative to the start of the month.

The changing market dynamics that have occurred over the past few months have also opened the door to a surge in coronavirus scam ads in programmatic marketplaces. According to The Media Trust, scam ads have jumped to represent 20% of fraudulent activity in April. Usually, this is under 5%.

With many brands moving their entire advertising budgets online due to a lack of OOH and print opportunities, they’re discovering that working with the right vendors is key to running successful, fraud-free, brand-safe campaigns.

A recent TAG report carried out by The 614 Group showed that working with certified partners, channels, and vendors reduced fraud rates across the European markets from an industry average of 8.99% to 0.53%.

More than three-quarters of brands say brand safety is now a key priority, according to Marketing Week. That’s why at Unruly we’re continually committed to ensuring we uphold the highest standards and certifications to protect our clients against ad fraud and brand safety issues.

Since we were founded back in 2006, Unruly has made brand safety and tackling ad fraud a central focus for the business. It filters through to all areas of the company, from our brand-safe premium marketplace UnrulyX, to our Trust Talks events, to the founding of the U7, whose mission is to lead the charge in cleaning up digital marketing.

Being acquired by Tremor International at the start of the year has helped push this focus further as we now have access to even more tools, integrations, knowledge and data.

UnrulyX Shield

We now deploy an even deeper approach to brand safety via our UnrulyX Shield product, which has been enhanced with several new integrations thanks to Tremor International.

For those of you unfamiliar with UnrulyX Shield, in a nutshell, it’s a suite of technologies and a set of practices that are provided to all advertisers who run campaigns with Unruly. It combines in-house technology, third party integrations, industry certifications and daily quality assurance to ensure we’re playing a leading role in improving the quality of the ad experience for advertisers, publishers and consumers.

All sites onboarded into the UnrulyX premium marketplace continue to go through Unruly’s detailed vetting process, which involves human review alongside fraud and suitability checks.

Third party integrations

Our integrations with Moat and Oracle Data Cloud’s Contextual Intelligence remain in place for viewability, fraud monitoring and pre-auction blocking for unsafe content. In addition to this, via Tremor we now have partnerships with both IAS and DoubleVerify, which means we now pre-filter all our impressions for fraud, adding an extra layer of brand safety to our process. 

Working with several third-party vendors gives us multiple points of view and a lot of valuable feedback that my team and I can use to help protect our clients and build out new processes and tools to further protect against ad fraud.

Brand safety certifications

We continue to participate in industry certification programmes via TAG and JICWEBS and always welcome independent verification to guarantee total trust and transparency for our clients. We recently achieved independent certification status for both TAG’s Anti-Fraud and Inventory Quality guidelines.

Industry involvement

We’re a founding member of the WFA’s Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), which places us at the forefront of their mission to improve safety for consumers and brands.

We also have a seat on the Brand Safety Institute (BSI) Editorial Board, which was set up by TAG and brings together industry leaders in our field to discuss the big brand safety issues of the moment and talk through potential solutions.

Our U7 client council was also set up to address some of the bigger concerns related to digital advertising and, along with Tremor Video, we’re able to gather feedback from some the world’s biggest advertisers, agencies and publishers on the brand safety and ad fraud issues they’re facing.

Needless to say, uniting Tremor Video and Unruly has bolstered the level of brand safety we can offer to clients and provides us with an even stronger hand at fighting the ongoing battle against ad fraud, especially during this uncertain time.

If you’d like to discuss any of the topics raised in this article please do reach out to us by clicking here.