June 2024

In this month's newsletter:


2024 TAG European Fraud Benchmark Report Finds TAG Certified Channel Inventory Has Increased by 77x in Last Six Years


The 2024 TAG European Fraud Benchmark Study found a 62% reduction in invalid traffic (IVT) in TAG Certified Channels (TCC) -- i.e. channels in which three or more participants have adopted TAG’s rigorous anti-fraud standards -- over Non-Certified Channels (NCC). The industry’s success in reducing IVT in TCC has driven a flywheel of continued success, as IVT rates have now been held under 1% in those channels for six consecutive years.

Among other notable findings, the number of TCC impressions measured in the study has skyrocketed by 77x from just 4 billion TCC impressions in the first year of the study to 308.4 billion last year, as adoption of the TAG anti-fraud certification programme standards has grown.

“We’re beginning to see a virtuous cycle in our fight against ad fraud, thanks to continuing adoption of high standards across the supply chain,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “Because ad buyers now expect to find sustained low fraud rates in TAG Certified Channels, they are increasingly shifting their investments to those channels, thus encouraging companies to adopt and maintain those standards and helping extend low IVT rates for another year.”

“A rising tide lifts all boats, and the broad adoption of TAG’s Certified Against Fraud standard has dramatically increased the amount of TAG-certified inventory available to the market,” said Jules Kendrick, Chief Growth Officer and MD, UK & Europe for TAG. “Over the six years of the study, the amount of TCC inventory has jumped by more than 77x, clearly illustrating the increased demand from buyers for inventory for consistent, low, and predictable IVT rates and the confidence from those buyers in TCC to meet those needs.”  

The study was conducted by The 614 Group and evaluated IVT rates in TCC by measuring more than 308 billion ad impressions in TCCs from January-December 2023 from three of the largest advertising agency holding companies across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. 

six year comparison 1

The study also included findings from in-depth qualitative interviews with senior executives from the participating agencies and other ad tech companies. Among the top themes from those interviews:

  1. Industry executives believe that success of the anti-fraud model should be extended to other industry challenges. After six years of low IVT rates in TCCs in Europe, agencies increasingly see IVT as an area for vigilance rather than urgent action, while focusing on challenges around wasted ad spend. Executives cited TAG’s collaborative anti-fraud programme as a model for other industry challenges, particularly in transparency. 
  2. Agencies see continued confusion around definitions of Made-for-Advertising (MFA) inventory. European agency executives focused on the problem of Made-for-Advertising inventory and highlighted an industry misconception that MFA falls within the definition of ad fraud (i.e., IVT). Executives felt the industry needed a clear and consistent definition of MFA. 
  3. Executives called for a balance of automation with a continued “human touch.” While automated programmes have simplified and standardized IVT reduction, agency execs stressed the importance of continued human engagement in the process. As one exec noted, “automated processes should benefit ad fraud prevention, but over-automation could cause blind spots,” as well as unintended consequences.

The full study can be found here.


ANA & TAG TrustNet Launch Programmatic Transparency Benchmark, Including Company-Specific Metrics for Participating Brands

TTN ANA Benchmark (Long)

At an exclusive launch event at the Cannes Lions festival, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and TAG TrustNet released early findings from their first quarterly Programmatic Transparency Benchmark Study.

The new benchmarking project builds on the results of the ANA Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study released last year by collecting, reconciling, and analyzing ANA members’ log-level data to establish supply chain metrics, so individual marketers can regularly measure and assess their own programmatic campaigns against those benchmarks. 

Last year’s ANA Transparency Study offered recommendations that would enable $22 billion in industry-wide programmatic efficiency gains, including the broad adoption of log-level data throughout the supply chain. The study found that one-quarter of the money spent on programmatic advertising was wasted at the time, with just 36 cents of every dollar that enters a DSP effectively reaching the consumer. 

In the new benchmarking results, the percentage of media dollars spent on Made for Advertising (MFA) sites dropped from 15 percent to 4 percent, suggesting that advertisers are taking greater control following heavy press coverage of last year’s study results. The average number of websites and apps on which campaigns run have also dropped from 44,000 to 23,000, and a high percentage of advertisers have reduced their number of SSP and exchange partners.

In releasing this year’s results, ANA CEO Bob Liodice highlighted a critical challenge faced by marketers in optimizing their programmatic investment: information asymmetry, where sellers possess more or better information than buyers. 

“This imbalance is particularly pronounced in the programmatic supply chain,” said Liodice. “This Benchmark aims to correct that imbalance, empowering brands to regain line of sight into their full programmatic supply chain, and paving a crucial pathway to more effective decision-making that drives growth in the open web programmatic ecosystem. Our Benchmark offering has elicited a strong and positive response from members.”

TAG CEO Mike Zaneis agreed, “Marketers need tools to help them address complicated challenges like waste in programmatic media. The ANA-TAG TrustNet Benchmarking initiative help marketers identify problem areas and ensure their investments in programmatic media reach intended audiences in environments where transparency, accountability and positive user experiences are the norm and not the exception.”

The ANA and TAG TrustNet are offering this new benchmarking service to ANA members on a limited basis. While all data will inform aggregate benchmarks, each participating advertiser will also receive its own confidential monthly metrics, including MFA activity, transaction costs, media quality (ad fraud, viewability), sustainability and DEI. Industry averages and recommendations will be released on a quarterly basis.

To learn more about the ANA-TAG TrustNet benchmarking service, you can view videos of educational sessions from Cannes with ANA CEO Bob Liodice, TAG CEO Mike Zaneis, OMD CEO George Mannis, AdExchanger Managing Editor Alison Schiff, Fiducia CEO Tim Brown, and a host of other ad industry luminaries here.



Team TAG Tames the Lions at Cannes

In addition to the TAG TrustNet sessions at Cannes, other Team TAG members also joined and led panels, met with TAG members, and engaged in important industry conversations at advertising’s biggest event.

The Power of Perspective; Pioneering Women in Threat Intel at the Empower Café

Hosted by PWC’s and The Women in Programmatic Network’s (TWIPN) Emily Roberts, the threat intelligence session of Cannes took place at WACL’s Empower Café. Joined by Index Exchange’s Kristina Gubanov, GeoEdge’s Michal Nissenson and TAG’s Rachel Nyswander Thomas, the panel talked about the prominence of women in the cyber security and threat intelligence field as well as discussing challenges malvertising has brought to digital advertising.


Interview with 614: European Fraud Benchmark Research

TAG’s Jules Kendrick and Cunningham.Tech’s Scott Cunningham sat down with The 614 Group’s Rob Rasko to discuss the key findings from the latest European Fraud Benchmark Research. The group talked through the significance of TAG’s flywheel approach to decreasing IVT rates, the 77x growth of TCC inventory in the last 6 years, the MFA conundrum, and more. 


Eyeo’s Townhouse

At the Eyeo Townhouse, TAG CEO Mike Zaneis met with a group of industry leaders to discuss the state of inventory quality and ways to improve the ecosystem to benefit marketers and publishers alike. According to Mike, “It was a wonderful opportunity to bring buyers and publishers together to find mutual ground and develop real world solutions. It was exciting to hear consensus on the need for greater industry signals in the programmatic ecosystem to improve privacy compliance, understand bidding processes, and detection of MFA sites. TAG TrustNet is quickly becoming the preferred industry transparency platform to bring such solutions to market.”



From “The ANA Says Advertisers Are Spending Way Less On MFA – But Programmatic Ain’t Fully Transparent Yet” in AdExchanger:

On Monday, to coincide with the first day of the Cannes Lions festival, the ANA and TAG TrustNet released the first of what will be quarterly industry benchmarks that aggregate log-level data across multiple marketers.

The purpose of the benchmark is to create a gauge advertisers can use to determine how their programmatic campaigns compare with the broader industry in terms of MFA activity, media quality, CPMs, sustainability and DEI.


From “Tech on Me: Can AdTech Wean Itself Off MFAs” in Campaign Asia:

My take: MFA has been an ongoing issue for the industry and has been in the spotlight since the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) released its Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study. A few weeks ago, DoubleVerify found a 19% increase in MFA impressions year-over-year. While some advertisers have significantly reduced the number of sites they use, others still prioritise reach over quality, which can be inefficient. 

Therefore, it is encouraging to see the ANA and Trustworthy Accountability Group’s TrustNet launching quarterly benchmarks to help advertisers gauge their campaigns' performance against industry standards in MFA activity, media quality, CPMs, sustainability, and DEI. 

This first benchmark, analysing data from 11 ANA member brands, showed that media spending on MFA sites dropped from 15% to 4%, and the average number of websites per campaign decreased from 44,000 to 23,000.


From “Yippee-Ki-Yay, MFA: Advertisers Dump Bogus Sites” in MediaPost:

A year after the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) kicked off the buzz at the 2023 Cannes Lions festival with the release of a report indicating that 15% of the media buys by major advertisers are spent on bogus, "made-for-advertising" (MFA) sites, the ad trade association is following up with a new report indicating such buys have fallen to 4% of total ad spending.

The finding, part of a just-released "Programmatic Transparency Benchmark Study," conducted by the ANA and Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG)'s TrustNet, analyzed log-level data for 31 billion programmatic ad impressions representing $211 million in ad spending by 11 major advertisers between January and May. ...

The ANA and TAG TrustNet said they will be offering the new benchmark service to ANA members quarterly for an undisclosed limited time.




Where in the world is TAG_-min


Team TAG are always looking to connect with the TAG Community wherever they are! 

In the coming months, you can find us at:

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WBG Icon-minKeep Up-To-Date With The Working Group Brief

TAG's working groups are a crucial source point of conversation and collaboration across the whole of digital advertising. Make sure you stay up to date with the latest progress and developments with the Workin Group Brief. 

Read the latest Working Group Brief 👉 tagtoday.net/working-groups

Doc-min-1Leverage TAG Research into Your Everyday!

From APAC Fraud Snapshot reports, to UK Brand Safety Consumer reports, to Best Practices whitepapers, TAG's research is here to support our member's day-to-day compliance as well as strategic planning. 

Visit our Data and Insight page 👉 tagtoday.net/insights

Speaker-min-1Let's Make Some Noise Together 🤝

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