Digital ad fraud has been a persistent brand safety challenge for the industry. While advertisers expect their content will be viewed by legitimate consumers with the potential to buy their products and services, criminal organizations have attacked the digital ad ecosystem and defrauded legitimate participants in the supply chain. As a result, advertisers may end up paying a material portion of their campaign dollars to criminals who generate ad impressions that are never seen by legitimate consumers. The 2019 ANA/White Ops Bot Fraud study estimated that advertisers lost $5.8 billion that year globally to bot-generated, invalid traffic (IVT).
Recognizing that individual companies or agencies cannot combat fraud alone, TAG works with the entire digital ad ecosystem to tackle this program with concerted effort.
"We will work with and buy media only from the entities that [get TAG-certified]... That’s because we don’t want to waste time and money on a crappy media supply chain."Marc Pritchard
TAG launched its Certified Against Fraud (CAF) Program in 2016 to combat invalid traffic in the digital advertising supply chain. Companies that are shown to abide by the CAF Guidelines receive the Certified Against Fraud Seal and use the seal to publicly communicate their commitment to combating fraud.
By encouraging legitimate participants in the digital advertising supply chain to meet these standards, the TAG CAF Program has been shown to be an effective tool in reducing fraudulent invalid traffic in the digital advertising supply chain. The 2021 TAG Fraud Benchmark and Snapshot Studies, conducted by The 614 Group, found that the use of TAG Certified distribution channels for digital advertising reduced IVT (invalid traffic) rate to below 1% in key global markets, across more than 660 billion display, video, mobile and CTV impressions.
As part of our Be Bold for Publishers Initiative, TAG has created a simpler and more cost-effective pathway for publishers to achieve the TAG Certified Against Fraud (CAF) seal.
One of the key requirements for companies looking to achieve CAF is ensuring that 100% of their monetizable transactions are filtered for IVT detection and removal by a qualified third party. The former pathways were proven cost-prohibitive to many publishers seeking to show that they are doing the right thing when it comes to stopping fraud in the digital ad supply chain.
Effective immediately, TAG will allow publishers to fulfill the requirement that 100% of their monetizable transactions are filtered for IVT detection and removal by leveraging their relationship with a Supply Side Platform (SSP) that holds a valid CAF Seal. This crucial update to TAG’s CAF Guidelines will empower a much broader and more diverse group of publishers to reap the benefits of being recognized as TAG Certified.
For more information on this initiative, click below.
Summary Certified Against Fraud Video
The Anti-Fraud Working Group works to combat the negative impact of fraudulent, bot-generated and non-human. By working with industry experts and pioneers, the working group develops and maintains the very best-in-class anti-fraud standards and tools to help digital advertisers keep ad fraud at bay.
Thanks to the cross-industry nature of the Anti-Fraud Working Group, they are also the industry's compass in identifying where the next emerging ad fraud threats are.
Data center IP threat filtering is an important requirement of the TAG CAF Program. In order to assist companies in fulfilling this requirement, TAG produces the Data Center IP List (DCIP) each month, in partnership with qualified companies to collect and review IP addresses that have been identified as having a high risk of being the origin of invalid traffic (IVT) – or of generating IVT – so that companies can apply the list to transactions and properly filter out such IP addresses.
DCIP is part of the Certified Against Fraud program, or members may purchase it separately.
The digital advertising industry has made some significant advances in the fight against invalid traffic (IVT) since TAG was founded, making it possible to reduce fraud rates significantly. However, misinterpretation of fraud-related terminology continues to result in miscommunication.
The TAG IVT Taxonomy was designed to help companies across the digital ad supply chain improve analysis and resolution of IVT reporting discrepancies, and to provide a consistent framework to structure specific reporting and initiatives around combatting IVT. It includes accurate and consistent terminology for all types of IVT, making it easier for companies to foster consistency, avoid ambiguity, and minimize confusion around discussions of IVT between partners.
Since 2017, TAG and The 614 Group have partnered to research and release annual benchmarks of the rate of invalid traffic (IVT) found in campaigns that flow through TAG Certified Channels, as compared to IVT found in non-Certified channels. The research consistently shows that TAG Certified Against Fraud companies perform better than the broader industry average.
How do I become a CAF-certified company?
Please refer to section 2 of the CAF Guidelines.
I've got a question about my CAF Certification Application. Who should I contact?
Please email us at email@example.com and someone from the Policy and Compliance team will get back to you as soon as possible.
My company holds the CAF Seal for the current year but the guidelines have just been updated. Will my company fall out of compliance immediately?
No, your company will not fall out of compliance immediately.
When we release an update to one of our certification programs, all currently certified members are given a grace period of at least 6 months to come into compliance with the latest version.
All companies applying for certification and recertification in the upcoming year will need to show compliance with the latest version.
My company hasn't achieved the CAF Seal yet but is working towards achieving the certification. The guidelines for the program have just been updated. Which version of the program guidelines should I follow?
We recommend that you start working towards compliance with the latest version of the program's guidelines. This will ensure:
All companies applying for certification and recertification in the upcoming year, will need to show compliance with the latest version.
Where do I find the Media Rating Council's (MRC) Invalid Traffic Detection and Filtration Guidelines Addendum?
How do I subscribe to TAG's Data Center IP (DCIP) List?
If your company’s membership includes participation in the CAF program, you will be able to access the DCIP list via the Member Portal. Otherwise, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of the team can help with getting access.
When is Recertification/Certification?
Recertification/Certification happens in January every year. All applications for any (or all) of TAG's seals should be submitted by January 31st. We will then take 4-6 weeks to process all applications and notify member companies of the result(s).
How do I check my company's and other TAG Member Company's certification status?
You can check your company's certification status on the TAG Registry.
You can also search for other TAG Member's status on the TAG Registry as well.