OTT Evolution: Webinar Q&A

06/13 By IAS Team

In our OTT Evolution webinar we discussed OTT and CTV, what fraud looks like in this environment and best practices to protect yourself. Please find answers below to questions not addressed during the webinar. 

1. What’s the difference between CTV and OTT?

CTV, for Connected TV, is specifically a TV screen connected to the internet. The TV screen can be connected to the internet via a streaming device like Roku or Amazon Fire, a gaming console like Xbox, or maybe it’s just a SmartTV.

OTT, for “Over the Top”, is the concept of delivering video content over the internet. Half the market is defining OTT in a more content centric way, meaning television-like video content delivered to any screen (computer, mobile, and CTV). The other half of the market defines OTT in a more device centric way, meaning video content delivered to a CTV specifically.

2. Why is everyone using the term OTT differently?

This space is new and quickly evolving, the relevant definition will vary depending on what your challenges are as a company:

  • For media buyers looking to reach a specific audience, the content centric meaning of OTT will have more meaning.
  • For ad-tech companies, whose technology is typically environment specific, the device centric definition will be more meaningful.

From IAS’s perspective, we focus on the device centric definition, given measuring the new space of CTV requires new technology to accurately measure it.

3. Is all CTV inventory subject to fraud equally?

Let’s talk about IVT (Invalid Traffic) rather than fraud.  There are two kinds of IVT:

  • General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) which represents legitimate non-human traffic. Examples are search crawler, bots, and other non-human traffic that serves a supporting role in making the Internet as we know it function.
  • Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) which represents illegitimate non-human traffic. This could be traffic reported from entirely fake apps or traffic going to real apps from an entity that is trying to perpetrate fraud.

All publishers are equally subject to GIVT. In our experience, less transparent and long tail inventory tend to be subject to higher levels of SIVT.

4. What percentage of Connected TV ads are fraudulent? And is there more fraud projected across programmatic open exchange?

Given it’s early days for CTV, there are types of fraud that are not possible in this environment. For example fraud committed via cookie and click throughs, as neither are supported in a CTV environment. Therefore, we expect fraud to manifest itself differently in the CTV environment.

Based on client demand and the fact that we believe it is necessary to work directly with publishers to ensure accurate measurement in this new space, IAS made the decision to start by measuring premium publisher inventory. We do indeed see lower levels of fraud there.

It’s likely that open exchange inventory would see much higher levels, but at this point in time most CTV inventory is being bought direct or through PMP deals.  Some DSPs are not recommending buyers pursue open exchange CTV inventory until the market is more mature.

5. What’s the difference between Malicious App and Fake Publishers?

Fake Publishers can be web publishers that pretend to have CTV inventory, whereas Malicious Apps are CTV apps designed to conduct fraud. Malicious Apps may send ad requests all day long. The more CTV inventory becomes available through open exchanges, the more common we expect this scenario to become. This is similar to the fraudulent behavior we see through malicious mobile apps.

6. On Roku, there are private channels that are usually illegal content / not brand safe. How can our media spend be safe on Roku if we cannot see the channels?

There have always been pockets of inventory that are not wholly transparent. As always you need to decide whether potentially compromised inventory is worth running on for the purpose of additional reach.  We would recommend you advocate for full transparency.

7. In the current OTT ecosystem, what can advertisers and publishers do to protect themselves from ad fraud?

There are several steps we recommend be taken to protect against ad fraud:

  • You can avoid higher IVT rates by making sure buyer and seller are aligned on the definition of what they are buying.
  • Favor direct publisher relationships and those who provide more transparency until the industry unlocks scalable IVT measurement across all inventory sources.
  • Foster the adoption of the VAST 4.1 and above, which introduce essential elements for scalable measurement.  

Click here to learn more about IAS’s CTV offering

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