Ad Fraud, Bots and Brand Safety

By DISH Media InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Ad Fraud, Bots and Brand Safety

With a belief that the overall industry will benefit from gaining a deeper understanding of OTT (Over-the-Top), Dish Media Sales has placed a priority on sharing its knowledge and insights.  As Brian Norris, Vice President of DISH Media Sales said in a recent interview, “We’re all in on advancing this product and educating the marketplace on what the possibilities are [for] an advertiser or an agency that is forward-thinking enough to embrace the future and thought leadership, and to look at how they can better service their clients ... Sling TV [for example] is the first to introduce programmatic media-buying in a live OTT platform.  So, we're all about being leaders in the space and trying to evangelize that within the marketplace, to get buy-in across the entire landscape of media advertising ... knowing that good things are going to happen long-term.”  As part of that commitment, this is Part 2 in a series sharing information about the changes impacting television today.

While the consumer is quickly adapting to the ever-changing landscape, it’s becoming more important that the media industry stay ahead of that curve.  Part 1 touched on a few key topics, two of which are some of the biggest issues in advertising today -- ad fraud and brand safety, which are being explored in more depth here.  Part 3 will dive more deeply into viewability and ad completion.

Ad Fraud

Last year, surveyed 357 brand marketers and digital execs on their key concerns for the industry.  Ad fraud and bot traffic remain at the top of brand marketers’ concerns.

In addition, the survey also revealed that 65% of agency and brand executives with digital media planning and buying decision-making responsibility said a "safe and low-fraud environment is very/extremely relevant and important in their digital media selection process."

A recent study commissioned by WPP agencies and The&Partnership indicates ad fraud could be as high as $16.4 billion this year and also quotes the World Federation of Advertisers as predicting ad fraud could be as high as $50 billion by 2025.  While the ANA study showed a slight decline in fraudulent advertising, they still indicate that 22% of video spending was fraudulent.

Sling TV has two significant advantages that reduce bots and ad fraud:

  • Sling TV is an authenticated experience, with users having to sign in each time they want to use the system.  Advertisers know who’s watching the content.
  • Viewing through the cookie-less app environment (the majority of views) means no app fraud and/or app bots.

Brand Safety Blows Up

This past June, a survey of 747 decision-makers on Media Brand Value and Equity revealed that brand safety is the most relevant consideration to media buying/planning decision making.  According to the data table below, nearly 70% of respondents rated brand-safe environment most relevant, suggesting brand safety is more important to media investments than research, engaging content environment, and reach.

In fact, earlier this year, Google found itself losing revenue after advertisers became concerned about where their ads were being placed.  Several major U.S. advertisers found that their ads were being placed near videos of highly controversial content.  While this has been a known issue on the industry, these high-profile cases brought increased attention to the problem and forced many online publishers to institute new policies and procedures.

But brand safety continues to be a significant issue for marketers.  Thanks to programmatic buying in the digital space, brands have become increasingly concerned with brand safety and where their ads are being played.

Many brands have found themselves in the unenviable position of defending ad placement with content that’s either inappropriate or controversial.  A recent CMO Council report showed “37% of consumers say that their perception of a brand is altered when they see ads placed alongside offensive content.” More and more, we see brands pulling back on the number of places where they place advertising, as the backlash from poorly placed ads can be costly for both the advertiser and the ad network.

Brand safety is one of the advantages that DISH Media Sales brings to advertisers.  In a MediaVillage interview with Adam Lowy earlier this year, Lowy explained how Sling TV’s premium, top-tier inventory had a positive impact on brand safety.  "Every impression is in a premium and brand-safe environment,” he said.  “Whether it's delivered during live TV or on-demand, you're reaching viewers across top-tier networks and popular content."

Lowy further explained what makes their viewing experience the right choice for advertisers.  “The key here is its live premium and on-demand television,” he noted.  “It's the best content, the best inventory you're going to get.  These are private auctions into ESPN, Disney, Turner, Scripps, Fox, A&E, you name it.”  With 63% of the respondents in a 2016 survey indicating that limited availability of premium value programming is a key concern, having the premium inventory that Sling TV delivers is one of the keys to their success with advertisers.

With OTT HHs growing year over year, advertisers will continue to seek better ways to engage their audiences, and that means reaching the right audience, at the right moment, on the right device.  Part 3 of this series will address viewability and completion rates, two additional topics that are critical for digital advertisers today.

DISH Media Sales has a team in place to help all sides understand how best to use the real-time audience targeting tools that they’ve developed. For additional information, please visit

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