November 8, 2018


Updated 2018 Analysis by The 614 Group Includes Video, Mobile Ad Inventory;

IVT Held Under Two Percent in TAG Certified Channels for Second Consecutive Years

Washington, DC – November 8, 2018 – The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry initiative to fight criminal activity in the digital advertising supply chain, today released an updated analysis by The 614 Group showing a reduction in fraud of more than 84 percent in TAG Certified distribution channels vs. the broader industry average.

The analysis measured more than 75 billion ad impressions in 2018 from five of the largest ad agency holding companies, and it found that invalid traffic (IVT) rates were held to less than two percent in TAG Certified channels for the second year in a row. The 614 Group expanded its analysis from 2017 to include Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) and a broader range of inventory types, including billions of video, mobile web, and in-app ads.

“There’s a saying in the technology industry that once can be lucky, but twice means you’re good,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “By reducing fraud rates in TAG Certified channels to less than two percent for the second year in a row, TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Program has firmly established the success of its model to reduce invalid traffic and stop the flow of money to the criminals who profit from it. This study reinforces why TAG’s anti-fraud certification has become a baseline requirement for doing business in the digital ad supply chain, and we look forward to building on its success as we expand our programs globally.”

Inventory Type

Desktop display, desktop video, mobile web display, mobile web video, in-app display, in-app video

Types of Fraud Examined

General Invalid Traffic (GIVT), Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT)

Volume of Impressions Examined

75 billion (including traffic from the world’s largest media companies)

SIVT + GIVT Rate (TAG Channels Only)

1.68 percent

Overall Fraud Rate (Blended Benchmark)

10.43 percent

Reduction in Fraud

84 percent

Study Duration

January - August 2018

Data Examined

Campaigns executed by major advertising agency holding companies: Annalect (Omnicom Media Group), GroupM, Horizon Media, IPG Mediabrands, and Publicis Media


TAG first commissioned The 614 Group to conduct a benchmarking study of the US market to examine the effectiveness of the TAG Certified Against Fraud Program in December 2017. The 2017 study only measured GIVT (not SIVT) across desktop and display advertising, so the results are not directly comparable, but the 2017 results showed a proportionally similar 83 percent fraud reduction for companies using TAG Certified Channels.

"Having worked to support digital brand safety for almost a decade, what really excites me about publishing this report is the level of participation from the industry, the huge volume of data which has been shared, and the number of partners who are now TAG Certified Against Fraud,” said Rob Rasko, CEO of The 614 Group. “These results exemplify the gravitas this program now commands and the value of having a benchmark like this in the marketplace."

TAG launched its Certified Against Fraud Program to combat invalid traffic in the digital advertising supply chain. Companies that are shown to comply with the Certified Against Fraud Guidelines are awarded the Certified Against Fraud Seal, which they can use to publicly communicate their commitment to combatting fraud. The Certified Against Fraud Program also provides companies a suite of anti-fraud tools to aid in compliance:

  • The Payment ID System creates a chain of custody for digital advertising transactions, helping companies to ensure that payments made in the digital ad ecosystem are going to legitimate partners.
  • The Data Center IP List is a common list of IP addresses with invalid traffic coming from data centers where human traffic is not expected to originate.  TAG publishes this list on a monthly basis to assist companies in meeting the requirement in the Certified Against Fraud Guidelines that companies employ data center IP threat filtering across all of the monetizable transactions that they handle.
  • The Publisher Sourcing Disclosure Requirements (PSDR) foster trust in the marketplace by disclosing the amount of sourced traffic for a given publisher.  This policy tool outlines the requirements for publishers to disclose the volume of traffic acquired through paid sources. 
  • The txt Specification creates greater transparency in the inventory supply chain by creating a public record of Authorized Digital Sellers, giving publishers greater control over their inventory in the market, and making it harder for bad actors to profit from selling counterfeit inventory across the ecosystem.

Thus far, 109 companies around the world have achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal to date, more than double the 49 who had earned the seal in December 2017.

As a second element to the analysis, The 614 Group also interviewed executives with the participating agencies, Annalect (Omnicom Media Group), GroupM, Horizon Media, IPG Mediabrands, and Publicis Media, as well as publishers A&E Networks, CBS, and Hulu, to learn more about their companies’ perspectives on the complicated fight against fraud.

The full study can be found at here. Additional information about TAG’s Certified Against Fraud Program and how companies from across the advertising ecosystem can received the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal can be found at


The 614 Group assessed the rate of Invalid Traffic (IVT) in 75 billion digital ad impressions across display, video, and mobile inventory that ran over the first seven months of 2018. Aggregated inputs including all data from submitted actual campaigns (not a sample) executed by many of the world’s largest agency holding companies, including Annalect Consulting, GroupM, Horizon Media, IPG Mediabrands, and Publicis Media.

All of the impressions were delivered via TAG Certified channels in which multiple entities involved in the transaction – such as the media agency, buy-side platform, sell-side platform and/or publisher – had achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal. The impressions were measured for fraud by MOAT, DoubleVerify or Integral Ad Science. These three anti-fraud measurement vendors are TAG Certified Against Fraud and hold accreditations from the Media Rating Council (MRC) for both General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) and Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) measurement.

The study compared the TAG Certified baseline to a blended benchmark of the publicly reported fraud rates reported by DoubleVerify, Forensiq, Integral Ad Science, and White Ops.

About the Trustworthy Accountability Group

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is the leading global certification program fighting criminal activity and increasing trust in the digital advertising industry. Created by the industry’s top trade organizations, TAG’s mission is to eliminate fraudulent traffic, combat malware, prevent Internet piracy, and promote greater transparency in digital advertising. TAG advances those initiatives by bringing companies across the digital advertising supply chain together to set the highest standards. TAG is the first and only registered Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO) for the digital advertising industry. For more information on TAG, please visit

Topics: Press Releases