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An introduction to the Ad Fraud Task Team

Analytics By: MarketingApr 3, 2018

In light of the recent ad fraud news and in response to Marc Pritchard from the IAB Leadership Meeting in Janurary 2017, "The programmatic supply chain is “murky at best, and fraudulent at worst”, Infectious Media has created it's own Ad Fraud Task Force to tackle fraudulent activity. The following questions and answers are with the manager of the task team, Barbara O'Malley.  




IM: What is the Infectious Media Ad Fraud Task Force? 

BO: Brand safety has been a growing concern for advertisers. With estimates of anywhere between $6.2bn to $16.4bn being wasted on ad fraud globally in 2017, it is crucial for advertisers to understand the importance of tackling ad fraud. To help beat this fraudulent activity and keep our client’s brands safe and spend efficiency, Infectious Media has built an in house Ad Fraud Task Team. We use a combination of manual and automated processes to ensure the highest safety levels possible when it comes to running our client’s advertising in secure environments.


IM: How did the AFTT evolve?

BO: The team originally started by building dashboards for the optimisation team to use in order to better identify fraudulent activity.  This then evolved into a specialised team analysing ad fraud in order to build recommended blacklists.  This took the form of domains, publisher IDs and placement IDs on the back of the analysis that ran on activity over the past three days.

The team primarily use data from our brand safety partner, who firewall for different reasons, such as illegal content, fake domains and adult content. Recently, our brand safety partner has also started firewalling for fake news, which advertisers have become increasingly aware and concerned about.

The Ad Fraud Task Team has been building our own fake news blacklist since December 2016. There are currently 800 of these fake news sites which are blacklisted, which is continually added to each week. Additionally, the team use daily news alerts from a broad spectrum of news sources, as a way of reacting quickly to news stories, to ensure we are serving ads on branded-safe content.


IM: What are the main challenges?

BO: Monitoring and implementing brand safety, as well as minimising exposure to fraudulent impressions, is a constantly evolving task. Ad fraud is always changing and we need to rely on our brand safety partner to provide the correct data to us.

We are always working on building and improving our own detection measures, including looking at anomaly data such as particularly high ratio of clicks to impressions, or very low CPMs against a high volume of impressions.


IM: Why is it having the Ad Fraud Task Team important?

BO: Having the team is crucial so we don’t waste spend on fraudulent content. Ultimately, ad fraud is a huge challenge to the industry. 

The team is focusing on contextualisation on pages, for us to exclude. This is where the Ad Fraud team will expand research into the most. At present, we have custom channels that we have built around extremist and far right political content, but there is always more work to be done there. Essentially, the more the custom channels grow, the better the results will be for our clients.


IM: What impact have you seen so far? Summary

BO: The Ad Fraud Task Team have continued to make significant gains, and despite an increase in client spend over the last few months, we have decreased spend on non-keyword-blocked impressions. This means that with the Ad Fraud team in place, we have had our lowest portion of overall spend on these impressions since the team started. The total spend on ad fraud has dropped significantly in monthly spend on fraudulent and non brand-safe impressions.   


Barbara O'Malley  - ‎Optimisation Manager. 


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