As you know, on All Saints night, all sorts of monsters crawl out on the ground. They roam among people looking for prey, so people dress up as monsters to trick them and keep themselves out of harm's way.
In SmartyAds we spend most of our time in virtual space, and we should say that on the Internet it's quite the opposite. All kinds of things like ad fraudsters and scammers pretend to be normal guys, and we have to ally with traffic safety providers like Pixalate and Protected Media and demand quality vendors like TheMediaTrust to keep our advertising platforms protected.
We wish you all a wonderful holiday season! Don't be afraid of anything, we've got it covered
Spooky Scary Skeletons to avoid this Halloween season
Did you know that advertising fraud is the spookiest thing because it eats billions of advertising budgets each year? In order to prevent ad fraud brands should use only trusted sites for advertising and publishers should not forget about cybersecurity and such initiatives as adx.txt and app-ads.txt. Let’s find out what kinds of threats are here:
Non-human traffic or bots
Some customers buy massive and cheap traffic to their sites for pennies on various RTB platforms. And there's no guarantee that they won't end up with view or click bots. Even that little budget spent on advertising can run like sand through their fingers.
For cybercriminals, botnets and click farms are powerful, albeit illegal, tools whereby users' devices are infected with malware and controlled by botnetters. Now it is a common ad fraud technique.
Cybercriminals use not only PCs but also mobile devices to mimic their actions. Bots and click farms are also used. With their help, fraudsters create armies of fake users. With it, the scammers flood the entire advertising environment, wreaking havoc on advertisers' conversions.
Click farms use the low-paying labor of real people who personally walk through the ad space and click through all the ads.
Click bots are created to fake actions on websites and mobile apps. Advertisers are fooled by the high clickability, but end up not getting any real conversions.
This is a scheme used by fake publishers, ad exchanges, or networks to hide the nature of their traffic so that it resembles regular websites.
For example, an advertiser may sign a contract to run a campaign on a legitimate entertainment website with very high monthly traffic, but instead, their ads end up on an unknown site with few visitors.
You can avoid this type of fraud only by cooperating with verified sites and supply-side platforms. But even so, you should not forget to check the data you get in the course of your advertising campaigns.
Ghost sites are one of the hardest ways of fraud. Fraudsters create content farms and use bots to simulate traffic. The sites can then be entered into a legitimate advertising exchange, where impressions on them are fully counted and provided to advertisers in reports.
Usually, such sites are quickly detected by security systems or by advertisers themselves because of suspicious traffic, but even in its short life, such a website can be very profitable for the creator.
Why your experience with us is safe and sound
Did you know that monsters and bad things are a lot closer than you think? And not just on All Saints night, but always. They could be right there in your hand, they could be lurking in one link of fraud from you. We're talking, of course, about fraud and the way scammers trick publishers and users with advertising content.
We're not Dean and Sam Winchesters, of course, but we have protected you on our platforms from head to toe.
SmartyAds has a system of protection against such fraudulent schemes thanks to partnering with Pixalate (which fights SIVT and GIVT threats) and Protected Media that can monitor major environments, including CTV, display, and video. We check the reliability of the partner when we start working with them and although we have in-house mechanisms for monitoring and checking the quality of traffic, we also turn to third-party vendors to ensure maximum protection. In addition, we constantly monitor and update our traffic manually and therefore we react quickly to eliminate all possible risks for our advertisers.
- Ads.txt stands for "Authorized Digital Sellers" and is a publicly available file in which publishers declare sellers who are allowed to sell their inventory. The file is hosted on the publisher's root domain, making it easily accessible to buyers who may want to verify the authenticity of the inventory they are buying. App-ads.txt, meanwhile, is a version specifically for apps and mobile OTT players;
- Sellers.json is a publicly available log used by SSPs and exchanges that contains detailed information about the inventory they can legally sell. Sellers.json is like a public dictionary that allows media buyers to see sellers listed in the chain;
- Schain object is a bid request object that lists the IDs of each party (inventory sellers and resellers) that were active during the bid requests.
It’s worth pointing out that all creatives from our advertisers are also undergoing the moderation process. This process ensures that the context of the ad is allowed by the policies and doesn’t include prohibited materials (more about it in demand policies). As well, we collaborate with third-party vendors to automatically check the demand to ensure that the creative corresponds to the essential standards so that the ad serving could bring the best possible advertising outcomes.
Filtering for publishers on SSP. Our SSP admits only trusted advertisers to transactions, (with proven brand-safe content) minimizing the possibility of advertising fraud for advertisers. Still, we also thoroughly protect the interests of our publishers on SSP.
Publishers on our SSP can use filter categories to choose content that they want to block. As well, they can block domains of organizations whose ads they don’t want to be displayed on their sites.
To be continued
The schemes we described above are just the tip of the iceberg, a very small part of what our professionals and systems have to deal with on a daily basis. On top of that, every year there are new ways to scam ads and new approaches to combat them are developing, so our work knows no end.
So we, as true hunters of evil spirits, will continue to do our job regardless of the day of the week or the weather outside. For us, Halloween lasts all year round, but we don't mind that at all, because we love our job and are happy to keep our clients safe in the vast and confusing world of digital advertising.
Irina Kovalenko, CMO of SmartyAds