'Fully on-screen' CTV can help reduce ad fraud by 83% - study

With both connected TV advertising and audiences on the rise, advertisers want to ensure consumers are only watching ads when their TV devices are switched on – mitigating the potential for ad fraud. New data from DoubleVerify shows ad fraud is 83% less likely to occur when advertisers tailor their campaigns for “fully on-screen” CTV environments.

The issue, coined by DoubleVerify as “TV Off,” occurs when viewers power down their TV without quitting the CTV app. This can cause programming – including ads – to run while the viewer isn’t actively using the device, with advertisers losing ad dollars in the process.

To test the impact of viewability challenges for CTV, DoubleVerify analyzed the performance of two concurrent campaigns. One was certified to only display ads when the TV screen is on with the ad 100% displayed i.e., “fully on-screen,” while the other campaign did not.

Thus, the Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) rate was 83% lower for the “fully on-screen” campaign than the one without that capability. DoubleVerify also found ads within “fully on-screen” CTV environments have an 18% higher video completion rate than standard CTV ads, which in turn boosted user attention and brand awareness.

CTV is a growing market for advertisers. Innovid recently reported CTV made up 46% of all video ad impressions in 2021, with 48% of global impressions coming from North America.

The challenge of effective CTV advertising, DoubleVerify CEO Mark Zagorski noted in a statement, is advertisers are assuming all CTV environments are fully viewable.

Historically, marketers have relied on Video Player-Ad Interface Definition (VPAID) to measure viewability for digital video. VPAID is a code that runs within video players to provide engagement insights. That code, however, isn’t supported for CTV.

“CTV commands some of the highest CPMs in digital advertising, which can make it more susceptible to fraud and bad actors,” Zagorski stated. “Targeting environments certified to only display ads when the TV screen is on and where the ad is 100% displayed helps to reduce fraud’s impact and improve campaign ROI.”

This analysis stems from a February DoubleVerify study, which highlighted one in four top CTV environments continued to play programming content and record ad impressions after the viewer turned off the TV.

Similarly, recent data from GroupM and iSpot.tv indicated 17% of impressions through CTV devices – like dongles and gaming consoles – were delivered when the TV was shut off.

Whereas native smart TV apps, which make up roughly half of CTV viewing, had virtually no incidence of inflated CTV ad count, noted GroupM and iSpot.

Such discrepancies in ad measurement are part of a larger need for an effective audience measurement platform, according to Adam Gerber, executive director of investment strategy for GroupM U.S.

“This is one of many measurement challenges facing the industry as consumption continues to fragment across device, time and location,” Gerber stated, referring to “dramatic variances” in rates of continuous play across different TV sets, streaming devices and apps.

Minimizing CTV ad fraud shouldn’t be a problem, TVRev’s Alan Wolk pointed out in a June Fierce Video column. He urged those in the streaming industry to develop a form of currency that determines if an ad has been verified as “viewed,” while assuring consumers this is a temporary issue – reflective of the still nascent CTV industry.

“Every new medium goes through growing pains. The good thing about this one is that there was no malicious intent and that the solution is fairly simple,” Wolk wrote.