June 17, 2024


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


Washington, DC & London, UK – June 17, 2023 – A new report on European ad fraud from TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group) reinforces the importance of adopting robust anti-fraud standards across the digital advertising supply chain, finding a 62% reduction in invalid traffic (IVT) in TAG Certified Channels (TCC) - where three or more participants have adopted TAG’s rigorous anti-fraud standards - over Non-Certified Channels (NCC). The 2024 TAG European Fraud Benchmark Study also found that 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. 

“We’re beginning to see a virtual 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.”

As adoption of the TAG anti-fraud certification programme standards has grown, so has the volume of TCC inventory available in the digital ad supply chain. The number of TCC impressions measured in the study has skyrocketed from just 4 billion TCC impressions in the first year of the study to 308.4 billion last 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 notable themes from those interviews were the following:

  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, whilst 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. 
  1. 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. 
  2. Executives called for a balance of automation with a continued “human touch.” While automated programmes have simplified and standardised 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.

“MFA may be the hottest topic in advertising, and agency executives clearly told us that our industry needs to establish clearer definitions around the term, so we can reduce confusion between it and IVT,” said Rob Rasko, CEO of The 614 Group. “Executives also felt that the collaborative, standards-based model that TAG has used so successfully to address fraud should be extended to other industry challenges.”

The full study can be found here. Additional information about TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Programme and how companies from across the advertising ecosystem can receive the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal can be found at https://www.tagtoday.net/fraud.


This is the sixth annual TAG European Fraud Benchmark Study conducted by The 614 Group, and it continues to follow the methodology of the prior studies. The 614 Group partnered with three leading agency holding companies - GroupM, Omnicom Media Group, and Publicis Groupe - along with their MRC-accredited measurement vendors to collect and aggregate all impressions for campaigns that were executed from January 2023 to December 2023 in five European countries (Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK).

These impressions included display media and video ads in desktop, mobile web, mobile in-app, and CTV environments. The analysis did not use sampling of any kind, as 100% of all TAG Certified Against Fraud impressions given to The 614 Group were included in the analysis. Upon receipt, all data was aggregated within a secure database in order to create the proper reporting.

About TAG

TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group) is the global certification program to strengthen safety and transparency in digital advertising. For nearly a decade, TAG's seal programs have demonstrated their effectiveness in minimizing fraudulent traffic, sharing threat intelligence, protecting brand safety, and enabling transparency. TAG's international member companies include the world's largest and most influential brands, agencies, publishers, and ad tech providers. TAG is the first and only Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) for the digital advertising industry. For more information on TAG, please visit tagtoday.net.