Year In Review 2023
In this month's newsletter:
- <1% Global IVT rate in TCC
- Landmark ANA report valid low IVT in TCC
- TAG's adfraud fight move to China
- Latest Threat Intel reports helped industry stay head of threats
- Project Brand Integrity's (PBI) continued success in Europe
- PBI extends to LATAM
- TAG TrustNet and Certified for Transparency launched
- ANA report validates TAG's transparency approach
- TAG helps members meet MFA challenges
- Record number of TAG Platinum Status Members
- One More Thing
SUSTAINED SUCCESS AND CONTINUED INNOVATION ACROSS TAG PROGRAM AREAS IN 2023
Consistency breeds success, and the last year has demonstrated how TAG’s rigorous standards and best-in-class tools have created a record of sustained improvement across the areas of ad fraud, malvertising, piracy, and brand safety. Building on that foundation, TAG has continued to innovate in tackling emerging challenges like transparency, made-for-advertising (MFA) sites, and AI-driven malvertising threats.
Following are ten accomplishments from 2023 worth noting:
- Sustained global IVT rates under 1% in TAG Certified Channels lead to new contract terms for agencies. Regional TAG studies in 2023 demonstrated that invalid traffic (IVT) rates have been held under 1% in the TAG Certified Channels (TCCs) in the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions for more than three consecutive years. (TCCs are channels in which three or more entities involved in the transaction have achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal.) Thanks to that consistency, executives with major agency holding companies said they now include the 1% IVT benchmark in their contracts.
- Landmark ANA report validates low IVT rates in TCCs. The Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) widely-anticipated Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study validated the low IVT rates found in TCCs, with the report finding an overall IVT rate of just 0.78 percent in the channels examined, while the Media Rating Council (MRC) noted significantly higher rates in Non-Certified Channels, saying, “IVT rates vary widely depending on the source and inventory type. We see larger vendors measuring larger advertisers/publishers in the 1–3 percent post-bid range.”
- TAG fight against ad fraud moves to China. For the first time, TAG’s Asia-Pacific Fraud Snapshot included a special analysis of IVT in China, in partnership with the China Advertising Association (CAA). The analysis found that China had an overall IVT rate of 5.93%, roughly 50% lower than the estimated global average.
- TAG threat intelligence reports helped industry stay ahead of new and emerging issues. TAG’s Threat Intelligence team released the first two reports in what will be an ongoing series about emerging threats to the digital advertising supply chain. The inaugural threat assessment, “Exploiting Trust: Social Engineering Tactics on the Rise in Malvertising,” offered a detailed analysis around the growing risks of malware-based social engineering attacks, while the second report, “The Impact of Generative AI on the Malvertising Landscape,” found an “all but certain” risk of generative AI being utilized by malvertising attacks in 2024.
- TAG’s anti-piracy initiative demonstrates continued success in reducing European ad piracy. The second annual report on TAG’s Project Brand Integrity (PBI) found that 86% of brands in 2022 had reduced their ad impressions on pirate sites in Europe when alerted by TAG/PBI that their ads were running on such sites. As a result, the average monthly ad spending by major brands on high-risk and other IP-infringing sites fell by 89% that year.
- TAG extends its proven anti-piracy initiative to Latin America. Joining forces with Alianza, a leading anti-piracy alliance of content creators, and White Bullet Solutions, TAG launched the proven PBI initiative into Latin America. Through the program, White Bullet will identify ads from reputable brand advertisers on top sites that infringe Alianza’s member’s IP in Latin American markets, so TAG can privately contact the advertiser or agency and alert them to the ad misplacements.
- Launch of TAG TrustNet establishes a new industry framework for transparency. With the announcement of the inaugural group of companies to earn TAG’s “Certified for Transparency” Seal, TAG officially launched TAG TrustNet, the shared-truth framework that creates a single trusted record for ad transactions through real-time reconciling and sharing of log files with counterparties. (A central requirement for participants in the TAG Certified for Transparency Program is participation in a TAG-recognized Transparency utility, such as TAG TrustNet.)
- ANA report validates TAG approach to transparency. The ANA’s Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study urged advertisers to create supply chain contracts that “provide complete access to data and full transparency of websites purchased” including access to “log-level data (LLD) from every AdTech vendor across an advertiser’s supply chain.” That broad access to log-level data from supply chain partners is the cornerstone of TAG TrustNet’s technology framework. The study found just 36% of post-transaction programmatic budgets are spent on valid, viewable, measurable, and non-MFA impressions.
- TAG helps members meet MFA challenge through new partnerships. The ANA report also found that advertisers could drive up to $20 billion in improved efficiencies by increasing transparency in their supply chains, including $15 billion of savings by avoiding placements on unwanted Made-for-Advertising (MFA) sites. To help address this important challenge, TAG unveiled a series of partnerships to help advertisers address unwanted MFA spending and other brand priorities. Through the partnerships, TAG TrustNet will offer MFA site identification, minority ownership ratings, and privacy compliance.
- Record number of “TAG Platinum” companies show leadership in addressing intertwined threats. TAG’s 2023 program certifications included a record number of TAG companies that achieved “TAG Platinum” status by successfully obtaining all three or more of TAG’s certification seals. In total, 32 companies reached TAG Platinum status in 2023, a 53% increase over the 15 companies that did so in the prior year. More broadly, 228 companies achieved TAG certifications across TAG’s Certified Against Fraud, Certified Against Malware, and Brand Safety Certified Programs in 2023, including a record two-thirds (67%) through independent validation.
Thank you for your continued leadership and support in protecting the digital advertising industry in 2023. We look forward to accelerating our work together to improve transparency and strengthen safety across digital advertising in the coming year.
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