November 30, 2020

TAG Today - November 2020


2020 TAG US Fraud Study Finds Record 90% IVT Reduction in TAG Certified Channels

Each year, TAG conducts a series of benchmark studies to determine the impact of its anti-fraud program in the US and other key markets around the world. The 2020 TAG US Fraud Benchmark Study, released earlier this month, tracked a record 90% reduction of ad fraud in TAG Certified distribution channels.

Conducted by The 614 Group, the study found an IVT rate of just 1.05% across TAG Certified channels, compared to the industry average of 10.83%, based on blended IVT rates from MRC-accredited anti-fraud vendors. TAG Certified Channels are those in which a campaign runs through multiple companies that have achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal.

This year’s study was the first to include analysis of fraud across the connected television (CTV) space, and it found that use of TAG Certified Channels offered similarly strong protections against fraud with only 0.6% IVT in that new channel. Over the four years in which the studies have been conducted, IVT rates in TAG Certified Channels have dropped from 1.48% in 2017 to a new low of 1.05% in 2020.

“Criminals usually profit during times of disruption and turmoil, but the commitment of TAG members to 90%-01aggressive anti-fraud standards has helped us continue to drive strong progress against fraud this year,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG, about the study. “As advertising budgets were reduced, measurable business results have become even more critical, so we’re pleased that this research demonstrates how use of TAG Certified Channels can have a positive impact on the bottom line. We may never eliminate fraud completely, but our industry’s continued collaborative efforts will keep fraud rates predictable, manageable, and low.”

“Looking ahead, the insights and data points contained in the annual TAG US Fraud Benchmark Study will continue to help the digital ad industry understand the evolution of ad fraud, adapt the vital TAG Certified Against Fraud Program to keep abreast of that changing criminal landscape, and better protect the digital advertising supply chain,” said Rob Rasko, CEO of The 614 Group. “These valuable findings have been made possible by some amazing individuals who contribute the data collected and analyzed in these reports, all of whom have our deep appreciation for their assistance.”

In addition to quantitative research findings, the report also included insights from interviews with executives at leading TAG member agencies and publishers about their experiences fighting ad fraud, including Dentsu Aegis’ Carat USA Inc., Horizon Media, Interpublic’s Kinesso, Publicis Media Exchange, WPP’s GroupM, and Viacom’s CBS Digital.

Coverage of the study included The DrumWARCAList DailyAdvanced TelevisionAiThority, and eMarketer. The full study and report can be found here.

Are You Ready for 2021 TAG Recertification? (Don’t Forget Your Training Requirement!)

All TAG certification seals require recertification on an annual basis…and that time is coming up fast! Companies may submit recertification applications to TAG for the coming year beginning on January 1, 2021, and all recertification applications must be received by TAG no later than January 31, 2021. All current TAG seal recipients should have already received their 2021 Recertification Packets via mail.

In order to recertify, a company’s designated TAG Compliance Officer must have attended the applicable certification trainings less than 12 months prior to submitting a recertification application. For those who have not yet fulfilled this year’s recertification training requirements, TAG is offering four upcoming training sessions – one for each TAG certification program – during the month of December.

December 1               Certified Against Fraud training
December 7               Certified Against Malware training
December 14             Certified Against Piracy training
December 18             Brand Safety Certified training
January 1                   Recertification applications may be submitted to TAG
January 31                 Last day to submit recertification applications to TAG

If you have any questions or need additional information on the TAG recertification process, please contact Todd Miller at


From an op-ed by Jan Pitt, commercial director of ABC UK, in Mediatel:        

Here’s the latest reminder of what the industry is advising to keep us safe:

Ad fraud hygiene guidelines

Become TAG certified and work with TAG certified partners – The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is a global initiative increasing trust in the digital advertising industry. Achieving TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Seal proves that companies are consciously implementing the minimum industry recommendations to combat fraudulent and invalid traffic.

Companies applying for the Seal have to demonstrate, via an independent audit, that they abide by TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Guidelines. As an approved TAG auditor, we work closely with companies to ensure they have the right processes in place and are able to submit the evidence needed to demonstrate compliance.

The requirements differ slightly depending on where a company sits in the digital eco-system, but examples include employing domain threat filtering, implementing or honouring ads.txt and app-ads.txt files and undergoing annual TAG training.

Added reassurance comes with knowing TAG guidelines are updated regularly by its Anti-Fraud Working Group, ensuring the requirements demanded of participating companies remains at the cutting edge of industry best practice.

For example, the next iteration of TAG’s Guidelines requires more stringent measures for the filtration of invalid traffic. Companies must ensure 100% of monetisable transactions are filtered in a manner compliant with the Media Rating Council’s (MRC) Invalid Traffic (IVT) Detection and Filtration Guidelines or another TAG-recognised standard for IVT detection and removal. This rule currently only applies to general invalid traffic (GIVT), which is traffic that can be identified through routine filtration methods like applying lists.

This requirement becomes more stringent for TAG 2021 submissions, when companies must also demonstrate the same level of filtration against sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT). As the name suggests, SIVT refers to more difficult to detect situations that require further interventions in order to identify them, such as advanced analytics and significant human analysis.

As we evolve in our understanding of ad fraud, so TAG’s standards will develop, ensuring a continual forward movement of improved safety across the digital advertising ecosystem.

From “Four Ways to Fight Fake Traffic on Your Association’s Site” in Associations Now:

So what can you do to tackle fake traffic? Among the tactics that your association should look into as a starting point …

Use certification programs to find vendors focused on fighting fraud. Tools like the TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Program can help lead you in the right direction when it comes to choosing vendors focused on advertising in particular. It’s worth noting that ads are perhaps the most persistent target of fake traffic, as they can directly skew how much advertisers spend, creating ample opportunities for fraud. TAG’s standard is useful here as it creates some rules of the road for how fake traffic is understood by both advertiser and publisher.

TAG ShieldA PR Reminder from TAG

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 for review before release.


Topics: Blog