What is Ad Verification & How Does It Work?

In the age of malvertising and ad fraud, an increasing number of websites are being infiltrated by malicious actors, causing advertising dollars and ad placements to be wasted on malvertising, fraudulent ad impressions, and inappropriate ad content that can impact the user experience and publishers’ brand safety. Ad verification technology is one of the ways to combat this phenomenon and ensure that the ads displayed on a site are not malicious, inappropriate, or offensive. In fact, ad verification is often required by ad exchanges and SSPs.

Why Use Ad Verification & Why It’s Important

Ad verification is used to ensure brand safety and prevent malware and other types of ad scams that interfere with the user experience from being shown in an ad placement.

The term “ad verification” is used to describe two different things in ads, both of which require verification:

1. That a digital ad is legit and isn’t hiding malicious, inappropriate, or fraudulent activity.

2. That the digital ad isn’t creating fake users, clicks, or bot traffic (also called click fraud, IVT, or impression laundering) to increase ad spending.

In this piece, we will be referring to the first type of ad verification.

Ad verification is important to both the advertiser and the publisher, although each have different needs. Therefore, just as there are demand-side and supply-side ad campaign performance platforms, there are ad verification solutions and ad verification companies that cater to each sector of the digital advertising industry and advertising ecosystem.

The typical definition of ad verification is that it ensures that every ad impression is a compliant, quality impression and is served and displayed to the target audience as intended. However, this explanation covers what a demand-side platform ad verification solution offersincluding things like viewability, click fraud, and attribution system transparency. Yet, it leaves out the other part of the picturethe ad verification solutions oriented towards the supply side, or the publishers.

Ad verification benefits publishers by verfying that the ad does not contain malware or interfere with the user experience on the publisher’s web pages. Ad verification helps publishers minimize ‎the risk of running fraudulent ads on their sites, ensures that ads meet their brand suitability guidelines, and gives them better control of the online advertising displayed to the target audience in the viewable space on their site.

How Does Ad Verification Work?

Scanning ad tags is one of the ways that ad verification companies focused on publishers identify ad fraud and pinpoints the source of bad ads.

These supply-side verification tags are built to protect users on publisher websites and mobile aps from malicious ads and ad fraud launched through various digital advertising campaigns and ad exchanges. The verification tags provide protection and automated ad quality monitoring and enforcement for the publisher in a variety of types of ad formats and ad campaigns, protecting users in the target audience from issues like malware and poor ad quality “bad ads” that contribute to the breakdown of the publisher-visitor (user) relationship.

What is ad pixels stuffing?

This is a type of ad fraud that takes normal-sized ads and compresses them into a tiny 1×1 pixel frame and essentially makes the ad invisible to internet users. When a visitor lands on a publisher’s web page containing these ads in an ad slot, they trigger an impression although the user can’t see the ad. With such tiny ad pixels, ads displayed this way are essentially a waste of the advertisers money. Ad verification can ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Video ad verification

Ad verification technology for video verifies the format and length of a video before it is shown. This type of ad verification helps to ensure that the publisher doesn’t lose revenue from missed ad impressions when the video can’t load or hurt the user experience with latency due to heavy videos or with error messages.

Add verification is challenging in video because it’s difficult to identify content in video. Unlike display ads where ad verification works with text and image recognition tools, in video it is dependant primarily by the  landing page or on sampling specific frames in the video.

Mobile ad verification

The ads shown in an ad placement on a mobile device are often for mobile apps and in app events. Clicking on these type of ads sends the user to the app store. Therefore, it’s important that the verification vendor work according to app store parameters and classifications, which are different than those in a website.

Ad Verification Metrics

When choosing an ad verification vendor, it’s important to make sure that the vendor can offer a proactive strategy for protection from all types of ad fraud in digital marketing including redirects to bad IP addresses, gaming attribution models, ad hijacking, fake users, bot traffic, and more. That includes using metrics to identify things like ad pixel stuffing, landing pages that change after the ad is clicked, and verification of the industry vertical.

Ad Verification Platform Companies & Vendors

Ad verification is not a singular, uniform service, and different ad verification companies focus on different needs and different types of ad fraud. It’s important to choose a company whose ad verification helps combat the relevant threats and risk factors to maintain brand safety.

GeoEdge’s Built-In Ad Verification Software Solution

GeoEdge offers ad verification infrastructure than a solution that gives publishers and SSPs the flexibility to conduct a wide range of ad verification activities.  Its advanced security solutions ensure high ad quality and verify that sites offer a clean, safe, and engaging user experience, so publishers can focus on their business success.

Using GeoEdge’s solution, publishers define pre-established criteria that define the type of ad their brand endorses, taking issues like brand safety, brand suitability, and relevant content for their desired audience into account. Once the publisher has defined the parameters, GeoEdge’s digital advertising verification solution makes the decision whether to show a specific ad offered by one of the ad networks. GeoEdge doesn’t use samplingits ad verification process is run on every digital ad sent through the ad networks in real time.

SSPs and native platforms often have the capacity to filter on their own and create ad campaign settings that determine which ad is going where. This allows them to independently determine what is considered bad content. For example, misleading product offers may be acceptable ad spend for some SSPs who would rather not block them and lose the revenue.

GeoEdge’s ad verification solution connects with the SSPs as an API and allows the platforms to do their own surveys and samples. It then provides the SSPs with automatic alerts regarding possible problems in their digital advertising technology so that the platform decides what to do in each case. For example, many native platforms use it to make sure that the landing pages that ads direct to don’t change after the user clicks. GeoEdge alerts them when that happens, but allows the platform to review the ad and make a decision. GeoEdge can also verify the content vertical. For instance, if the advertiser says it’s entertainment, but the ad is actually for gambling, GE can pick up on it.

GeoEdge can also be a tool for onboarding new demand partners. New DSPs want to connect to all the SSPs, and in order to do so, they need to be vetted. They can request more frequent GeoEdge scans in the early stages to prove to the SSPs that they are trustworthy.

Publishers around the world rely on GeoEdge to stop fraudulent activity and prevent malicious and low-quality ads from reaching their target audience. GeoEdge allows publishers to maximize their ad revenue without quality concerns, protect their brand reputation, and increase their user loyalty.

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