The need for ad fraud protection is growing. No longer is adding a layer of ad fraud protection a want, it’s a need.
Fraudsters are growing more sophisticated and the consequences have never been greater. It’s not just hackers you have to worry about siphoning away your revenue. Ad fraud affects GDPR and TCPA compliance, two things that when violated result in hefty monetary fines for you.
But finding the right solution to match your brand’s needs is difficult for several reasons that can, largely in part, be attributed to the emphasis placed on getting Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation.
Here’s why we, as an industry, need to rethink MRC accreditation.
It’s no secret an ad fraud solution that touts MRC accreditation has a competitive market edge. MRC accreditation is the industry’s gold seal of approval. For comparison, think of an Ivy League university versus a regular university. Which one holds more clout? Well, Ivy League of course. Here, it’s the same concept.
However, you don’t need an Ivy League degree to be successful. Some of the most successful individuals didn’t graduate from an Ivy League school. For example, Google cofounder Larry Page, former President Gerald Ford, former Vice President Joe Biden, and billionaire business investor Warren Buffet.
But the marketplace has been sold on striving for MRC accreditation, and along with that adhering to the metrics that are being pushed by MRC accredited solutions. Consequently, now there’s a marketplace filled with products (and metrics) that are not necessarily the best solutions for your brand.
Adding to the problem is the lack of ad fraud measurement industry standards. By having no defined standards, it’s difficult to get everyone on the same page, resulting in varying definitions and benchmarks of what is considered fraudulent.
Even once you’ve paid for accreditation, the IAB reports there is still a 30-40% data discrepancy between ad fraud solution providers. So, when you pay for accreditation, what kind of validation are you really getting?
When you combine all of these MRC related issues, no wonder advertisers, publishers, and agencies are frustrated.
The industry needs to come together and define ad fraud measurement standards. The focus needs to be on 1.) Real metrics 2.) What are you buying. Conversion needs to be what brands are judging a solution by, not what a third-party sells them on (e.g. vanity metrics).
For example, a solution may say that one second counts as viewability. But how much of an ad can you really see in one second? Or perhaps another solution counts 50% viewability as valid. The 50% you’re seeing can completely change the meaning of the ad since you’re literally only seeing half of the ad.
But that’s not the only thing that needs to change, so does the weight that MRC accreditation carries. Brands need to pay attention to the solution, not the marketing message.