Why Ad Verification?‎

Ad verification, or validation as it is sometimes known, is often confused with the ‎viewability solutions in the market that tend to be advertiser facing, but verification ‎tech is designed as a publisher service.  ‎

Ad verification services typically come with a variety of tools that help automate a ‎lot of the standard processes and procedures that Ad Ops teams would naturally ‎perform at a publisher.  That includes scanning tags for performance and content ‎concerns, monitoring for sales channel conflict issues, and just ensuring there’s ‎nothing broken in the user experience.  ‎


Fraud & Malware

Blatantly misleading or malicious advertising exists and the stakes are high, ‎especially for the publisher since they own the relationship with the user.  What ‎veteran Ops professional doesn’t have a story about a small deal for a big brand ‎with a small agency that came in at the end of the quarter, needed to launch ASAP ‎on harried Friday, and turned out to be nothing but a hacker’s prank, redirecting ‎to a virus-clogged landing page, spawning malicious code, and otherwise harming ‎users.  ‎

Ad verification then is one of many technologies publishers can and should be using to manage ‎the risk of running malware on their site.  This is a risk for both direct campaigns and exchange ‎campaigns. Every part of the ecosystem should have a strong incentive to find and eliminate ‎malicious ad content as quickly as possible. However as these problems end with the ‎publishers, who are the final link to the client, their incentive is even greater, and so is their ‎load, as they are responsible for both 3rd party and direct campaigns.  Given the high turnover ‎of traffickers in the junior ranks, it can be tough to keep a tight process in place and teach ‎rookies the warning signs to look out for.‎


Manage Ad Quality on the Exchange

Aside from the edge cases for malicious ads, it’s becoming a far more common ‎problem to squash inappropriate ad content.  With the proliferation of indirect ‎sales channels like ad exchanges, it’s never been more complex to keep a handle on ‎the ad content if you’re a digital publisher.  A few years ago, the Ad Ops team could ‎review each and every ad creative, or point the finger at a couple network partners ‎to manage ad quality concerns, but no longer.  Now publishers might still work ‎with a handful of intermediaries, but in practice are exposed to hundreds of ‎demand partners if they open their inventory to the exchange.  It’s often good for ‎business but adds risk to the organization.  ‎

And since most advertisers are buying narrow audiences defined by specific cookie ‎pools, it’s par for the course for even small publishers to have thousands or even ‎tens of thousands of advertisers running ads on their site.  There’s no Ops team, no ‎matter how well funded that could possibly review all the ads from indirect ‎channels.

It isn’t just preventing pornographic images from running, which are universally ‎blacklisted, it’s addressing the grey area.  What’s appropriate for a motorcycle site ‎might not be appropriate for a parenting site.   How do publishers address alcohol, ‎religious advertising, gambling, weight loss, or other categories that are full of ‎legitimate advertisers but only acceptable to certain brands?  ‎

This is sure to only get more complicated in the future, as advertisers look more ‎and more to RTB infrastructure as the preferred way to distribute, target and ‎optimize their campaigns.  Not only that, but publishers are likely finding they are ‎making more money than ever on their international traffic than ever before.  In ‎years past, there was no way to source advertising demand for fractional pieces of ‎traffic, but unlike the ad networks of yesteryear, exchanges are supply agnostic, ‎and it doesn’t matter how many impressions you have to sell in obscure territories.  ‎While still small, it’s likely becoming the largest blind spot for Ops teams, since ‎they’ve never had to manage it in the past.    ‎


Ad Performance and General QA

Finally, verification services often provide tools to measure how an ad tag ‎performs against some pre-set limits that publishers define in their ad spec.  Things ‎like ensuring ads don’t start automatically playing with audio, don’t exceed certain ‎file sizes, don’t consumer too much CPU to render, have polite download features ‎set for video files, ensure click tags work, 3rd party macros are in place, and more.  ‎

Most major publishers have a detailed ad spec that covers all of these items, but ‎could never find the time to actually check every ad against all those factors save ‎the obvious.  Verification services offer a way for publishers to monitor more ads ‎for the egregious errors, and help advertisers identify problematic or broken tags ‎in advance. ‎


Learn more about GeoEdge’s ad verification platform, which helps publishers to ‎protect their brand reputation and to ensure a high ad quality.

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