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PubMatic’s Quality Efforts: Cleaning Up the Programmatic Landscape

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By Karl Moats, ‎Director of Product Marketing
June 7, 2018

Advertisers will lose $51 million to ad fraud every single day in 2018, totaling $19 billion for the year, according to an estimate by Juniper Research.

At PubMatic, we understand the importance of providing a transparent and brand-safe marketplace for buyers and publishers. Doing our part to create a fraud-free ecosystem requires an investment in product innovations and an operational focus across our organization.

PubMatic pioneers the latest tools, services partnerships and standards available in the marketplace to root out fraud. We wanted to give you a “look under the hood” to see a few ways how we are working to improve quality.

Combatting Fraud – Part 1: Improving Inventory Quality

PubMatic has no tolerance for fraud on our platform. We strive to protect advertisers’ trust by maintaining a clean media buying platform with the highest inventory quality and brand safety standards. Here are some of our inventory quality initiatives:

TAG Certification

PubMatic is pleased to announce we have been accredited with the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) “Certified Against Fraud” seal in April 2018. TAG is a global certification program leader in rooting out criminal activities and restoring faith in the digital advertising industry. The seal recognizes our ongoing dedication to “combatting fraudulent non–human traffic in the digital advertising supply chain.”

Inventory Quality Team

We have a dedicated global inventory quality (IQ) team that adamantly believes a clean environment benefits everyone. Our IQ team reviews fraud reporting, and investigates inventory flagged for quality from both internal and external signals before relaying findings to our customer success management teams. If improvements are not seen within a defined timeframe, we move to pause or terminate the publisher account.

New Director of Inventory Quality

We recently welcomed Eric Bozinny to the IQ team. Eric has been specializing in inventory quality since 2007 when he created the first customer-focused forensic operations team at Microsoft to manage the rising problem of click fraud in the search space. We look forward to his insights and upcoming initiatives to improve inventory quality.

Global Quality Partnerships

In addition to our proprietary technology, we partner with Media Rating Counsel (MRC) accredited inventory quality vendors, such as Integral Ad Science (IAS) and White Ops, which conduct brand-safety checks and inventory screening across multiple formats and platforms.

Fraud-Free Program

PubMatic debuted our Fraud-Free Program for demand partners in November 2017. Within the program, if fraud is detected, our demand partners won’t have to pay for it. The program was quickly reported by publications across the globe, and we are encouraged as other programmatic vendors have adopted similar initiatives.

Monthly Fraud Rate Reports

PubMatic set a goal of less than 3 percent Display and Video fraud rates for 2018. We are pleased to report we have achieved results well below our goal, month over month. You can learn more about our fraud detection and blocking in the latest IQ report here.

Combatting Fraud – Part 2: Improving Ad Quality

Two-thirds of websites with malicious creatives are legitimate sites that have been unknowingly compromised. We are aware of this danger and are vigilant in looking for malicious creatives that might have slipped through. In fact, PubMatic blocked more than 204,000 new malicious creatives between February and April 2018 alone.

PubMatic’s pursuit of ad quality includes the following tools, technologies and partnerships:

Ad Quality Suite

PubMatic’s Ad Quality Suite protects publishers from malicious creatives, low-quality and non-compliant ads. The suite’s features include creative attribute monitoring, malicious creative protection, latency monitoring and brand protection tools. We are also constantly making updates to address industry-concerns.

Enhanced Video Ad Quality

We’ve extended our existing ad quality capability, originally meant for display ads, to also handle video creatives. Focusing on ad creative relevance allows us to block unwanted categories, advertisers and domains. In addition, by improving the user experience, we are able to effectively detect and block various security issues like malicious creatives, forceful redirects and landing page spoofing.

Real-Time Ad Scanning (RTAS)

Within creative attribute monitoring, PubMatic’s Real-Time Ad Scanning (RTAS) suite of tools applies both proprietary and third-party technology to provide protection for desktop, mobile and video ads while addressing quality and security issues. Our ad scanning technology can screen every ad in the bid stream and make automated judgments on thousands of creatives. RTAS dives much deeper to root out malicious creatives and in-banner videos (IBVs) that publishers would have otherwise missed. You can find the complete report in our latest monthly ad quality report here.

Aggressive Blocking

Unveiled in December 2017 to block video creatives with high error rates, Aggressive Blocking has greatly improved our fill rate and decreased our error rate.

Want to Know More?

PubMatic will continue our efforts to maintain a brand-safe programmatic ecosystem. We will fight the good fight and we urge our supply-chain partners to join us in helping to ensure the programmatic ecosystem is clean. Contact us today to learn how you can benefit from a cleaner programmatic landscape.