November 4, 2021


New US Fraud Benchmark Study Finds Record-Low IVT Rates in TAG Certified Channels; Advertisers Express Comfort with Sustained 1% Fraud Rate

Washington, DC – November 4, 2021 – The digital ad industry reached a milestone accomplishment in its decade-long battle against ad fraud by holding invalid traffic (IVT), a key measure of such fraud, below 1% in US supply chain channels where multiple participants had adopted the same high anti-fraud standards, according to a new study released by the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) today.

The 2021 US Fraud Benchmark Study showed that IVT in TAG Certified Channels fell to a record-low 0.86% this year, a fourth straight year of improvement and a nearly 50% drop from the rate measured in the study in 2018. TAG Certified Channels are those in which a campaign runs through multiple companies that have achieved the TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal.

“A sub-1% fraud rate has been our industry’s four-minute mile, a psychological and operational barrier that has seemed nearly impossible to break,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG. “Unlike an individual record in sports, however, achieving that milestone in advertising has required close collaboration across the supply chain. When multiple participants in every ad transaction set the same high and consistent standards, there are few cracks left for criminals to exploit, and ad fraud can be reduced to low and sustainable levels.”

The study, conducted by The 614 Group, also involved interviews with executives at agency holding companies and others who helped put those results in context, with many ad buyers expressing comfort with a sustained fraud rate around the 1% level or lower. In the words of one agency executive, “We don’t have clients asking about fraud anymore. They see the 1% number over and over again, and they’re aware of all the levers we’re pulling on their behalf.”

During those interviews -- which included Dentsu International, DoubleVerify, Horizon Media, Integral Ad Science, Interpublic’s Kinesso, OMG, Publicis Media, and WPP’s GroupM -- agency executives also noted that advertisers now understand that their partners have established dedicated teams, processes, certifications, technology and partnerships to fight the issue and that the industry continues to be vigilant about looking for and combatting new forms of IVT as they arise. As a result, they have a high level of confidence in traffic quality.


“The changes in the industry since we conducted the first US Fraud Benchmark Study five years ago have been nothing short of remarkable,” said Rob Rasko, CEO of The 614 Group. “In those days, major market participants often struggled with high levels of IVT in their client campaigns, and there was acrimony and finger-pointing over whose responsibility it was to fix it. Today, it is clear that TAG established standards across hundreds of key participants in the supply chain, and it has delivered confidence to ad buyers -- as evidenced by the commentary -- and data in today’s released research on the results of their process of certification.”

The TAG Certified Against Fraud Program was launched in 2016 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 combating fraud. 

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


This report uses the methodology established by The 614 Group in 2017 for the first US benchmark study and used in all TAG Fraud Benchmark studies undertaken around the globe from that point forward. 

From January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021, The 614 Group analyzed data from leading agency holding companies -- along with their MRC-accredited measurement vendors -- to collect and aggregate impressions for campaigns that were executed in the United States of America. These impressions included display media and video ads in desktop, mobile web and in-app environments, as well as connected television (CTV). The analysis did not use sampling of any kind, as 100% of the impressions received from the agencies who shared data were analyzed. Upon receipt, all data was aggregated within a secure database in order to create the proper reporting. 

The 614 Group used the categorization of the ad impressions by the agencies’ measurement vendors, including DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science (IAS) and Moat by Oracle Data Cloud (Moat). These three - ad verification vendors are all TAG Certified Against Fraud and hold accreditations from The Media Rating Council (MRC) that include invalid traffic (IVT) measurement for both SIVT and GIVT. 

About the Trustworthy Accountability Group 

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is the global certification program designed to fight against criminal activity and protect brand safety in the digital advertising industry. TAG advances its mission of eliminating fraudulent traffic, facilitating the sharing of threat intelligence, and promoting brand safety by connecting industry leaders, analyzing threats, and sharing best practices worldwide. The 600+ member TAG community includes the world's largest and most influential brands, agencies, publishers, and ad tech providers. For more information on TAG, please visit


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