July 29, 2021

TAG Today - July 2021



Annual TAG European Fraud Study Shows Low IVT Rate in TAG Certified Channels During 2020 Despite Pandemic

Last week, TAG released its third annual benchmark study of ad fraud in Europe, which demonstrated how ad industry leaders in Europe were able to maintain a low IVT rate during the pandemic last year by using TAG Certified Channels. 

TAGx614 European Fraud Benchmark 2021

Despite increases in fraud attacks, the study found an invalid traffic (IVT) rate of just 0.69% in TAG Certified Channels across the five largest European markets, a non-material change from the minimal 0.53% IVT rate measured in 2019 and 2020. TAG Certified Channels are channels in which multiple entities involved in each ad transaction – such as the media agency, buy-side platform, sell-side platform, and publisher – have achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal.

The value of buying through fully TAG Certified Channels also increased significantly in 2020. Specifically, IVT rates in TAG Certified Channels (0.69%) were nearly three times lower than in channels where only one party to the transaction had achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal (1.90%), a growing gap in IVT reduction compared to the two times lower rates last year.

TAGx614 IVT Rate 2021

“Throughout history, criminals have tried to profit from times of crisis, and the supply chain dislocation prompted by the global pandemic has unleashed a surge of ad fraud attacks on digital advertising,” said Jules Kendrick, MD, UK & Europe for TAG. “Despite that increase in attacks, this study showed that ad fraud rates remained very low in the European channels where companies have required their partners to set the same high standards they had adopted against fraud. In short, a wall is only as strong as its weakest brick, and companies should make sure all of their partners’ standards are rock-solid.”

The study was conducted by The 614 Group study and evaluated invalid traffic (IVT) rates in TAG Certified Channels by measuring more than 117 billion ad impressions from January-December 2020 from three of the largest advertising agency holding companies across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. 

In addition to the quantitative results, the study also conducted a qualitative analysis through interviews with senior executives from the participating ad tech holding companies. Those experts ascribed the significant increase in attacks through mobile channels to changing consumer behavior and the impact of the pandemic, affirmed that benchmarks to measure fraud over time are critical to industry analysis of the problem, and noted that many agencies are now requiring their publisher partners to obtain TAG certifications.


TAG TrustNet Expands Global Efforts to Create DLT-Based “Shared Truth” on Metrics 


TAG TrustNet is expanding globally, as it looks for new partners to bring into its efforts to build a single trusted record – i.e. a shared truth – for transactions involving TAG Certified inventory by using distributed ledger technology (DLT).

TAG TrustNet was formally launched in February, following a successful twelve-month cross-industry pilot programme and a subsequent industry consultation last year, both in coordination with TAG’s technology partner, Fiducia.

The pilot included brands such as Nestlé, McDonalds, Virgin, O2/Telefonica, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Santander; larger agency trading groups such as WPP, Publicis, OMG, Havas, IPG, Dentsu Aegis; and a number of technology vendors and publishers.

Using DLT, TAG TrustNet primarily focuses on two key industry challenges:

Making it easier to transact on TAG Certified inventory, thus strengthening the industry’s efforts to fight ad fraud and advance brand safety, and
Creating a single, trusted record for such transactions so reporting reconciliation amongst actors throughout the supply chain is easier, cheaper, and more transparent.

Commenting on their participation, Simon Reip, Head of Digital J3, UM for Johnson & Johnson, said, “J&J and J3 are excited to be supporting the potentially groundbreaking TAG TrustNet pilot, helping lay down the foundations to a more transparent programmatic ecosystem. Only together as a cross-industry consortium can we truly solve this problem, and it’s great to see so many partners willing to take part.”

Sohel Modi, Ad Tech Strategy and Implementation Lead at Telefonica, said “We believe TAG Trustnet can provide the answers advertisers have always been looking for when it comes to digital advertising: a unified view of our supply chain by connecting the data from all our suppliers. The pilot has convinced us that DLT in the context of an industry led network is the right solution to help us understand where our ad spend is going and to optimize our media spend accordingly.”

If your company would be interested in participating in TAG TrustNet’s efforts, please contact Adrian Lacey at adrian@tagtoday.net.


From “Pinterest Achieves TAG Brand Safety Certified Status” in Adweek:  

Pinterest received brand safety certification from the Trustworthy Accountability Group, a global certification body that aims to fight criminal activity and protect brand safety in digital advertising.

Pinterest chief revenue officer Jon Kaplan said in a blog post, “TAG accreditation is the next, right chapter in Pinterest’s brand safety story. Over the past year, we’ve been more outspoken than ever about our ongoing commitment to consumer and brand safety.” …

TAG CEO Mike Zaneis added, “By achieving TAG Brand Safety Certified status, Pinterest has demonstrated its commitment to protecting its partners and users by adopting industry best practices against inappropriate ad placement and other brand safety threats. TAG is delighted that Pinterest has joined this growing global initiative, and we look forward to working together to further expand the program and create a safer and more trustworthy advertising ecosystem.”


From “Bringing Clarity to Three Common Ad Fraud Misconceptions” by the Alliance for Audited Media in The Drum:

Now that multiple solutions exist to fight fraud, more publishers and ad tech platforms are implementing these tools to address the problem. However, it takes marketer support to encourage widespread adoption. …

The Trustworthy Accountability Group brings together organizations from across the supply chain to set standards that promote greater transparency in digital advertising. TAG’s Certified Against Fraud program recognizes companies that meet the group’s guidelines and best practices for combating invalid traffic. These industry solutions provide marketers with visibility into the supply chain and should be integrated into every marketer’s buying process.


From “How Do You Define ‘Premium’ in Today’s Digital Landscape?” by Vanessa Hunt, GM of ThinkPremiumDigitay in AdNews.com (Australia):

No brand should be seen sitting alongside hate speech, violence, pornography, bullying, drugs, gambling or illegal content. A 2019 survey from the Trustworthy Accountability Group and Brand Safety Institute found that 80% of consumers would be deterred from purchasing a product that advertised near this stuff.


From “Advertiser aufgepasst: TikTok launcht neue Ads und Brand-Safety-Maßnahmen“ [“Attention Advertisers: TikTok is launching new ads and brand safety measures”] in OnlineMarketing.de:

Zusätzlich arbeitet TikTok daran, sich als sicheres Werbeumfeld zu beweisen. Auszeichnung wie von der Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) bescheinigen die Band Safety auf der Plattform. Seit September 2020 ist TikTok im Vereinigten Königreich mit dem TAG-Zertifikat ausgezeichnet, Europa, Nordamerika, Australien und Neuseeland folgten. Nun gesellen sich auch Lateinamerika, Asien, Russland, der nahe Osten und Afrika zu den Ländern, was bedeutet, dass TikTok nun weltweit TAG Brand Safety zertifiziert ist.

“TikTok is committed to ensuring that both users and brands have a safe space to express themselves and are always aware of the steps we are taking to make TikTok safe. We’re honored that TAG has recognized our global efforts to build a safer, more transparent and accountable platform. We look forward to building on our partnership with TAG to promote brand safety and improve industry standards,” erklärte Blake Chandlee, Präsident der Global Business Solutions bei TikTok. 

Das TAG Safety Certified Program ist eines der größten Programme der Industrie und hat sich dem Kampf gegen kriminelle Aktivitäten im Netz und die Stärkung von Brand Safety im Digitalmarketing zum Ziel gesetzt.

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We love it when TAG members highlight our work together to fight digital ad crime and improve transparency. Please send any TAG-related press releases, blogs, or other announcements to Andrew Weinstein at andrewwstn@gmail.com for review before release.


Topics: Blog