TripleLift is actively fighting mobile advertising fraud [Interview]

TripleLift, the native ad platform, recently partnered with WhiteOps to offer third-party verified pre-bid fraud prevention as part of its inventory. The company will be using WhiteOps’ MediaGuard pre-bid prevention product to get rid of fraudulent traffic.

“In today’s ad ecosystem even the largest brands and most premium publishers can fall victim to unscrupulous behaviors of cyber criminals,” said Eric Berry, CEO TripleLift. “Quality and safety have always been at the heart of what what we do, and although we have always outperformed the industry average, this partnership reinforces our commitment to a fraud-free ecosystem. It provides peace of mind to both our advertisers and our publishers by stopping bot traffic before it reaches the market.”

We wanted to find out more and spoke with Eric Berry about the latest addition.

What is the current state of mobile advertising fraud?

Mobile advertising fraud, like all ad fraud, is a serious problem in the advertising ecosystem. In the mobile app context, the problem is exacerbated due to the absence of a system, like ads.txt, the fact that many ads are loaded server-side and the ease with which one can hijack legitimate mobile advertising IDs. At current levels, mobile app fraud in unprotected environments can be a material percent of overall ad spend. As a result, it is imperative to buy from sources that can ensure legitimate traffic.

What are some of the core challenges in mobile advertising to address ad fraud?

The main challenge with ad fraud is that every method that one can use to detect bot fraud can be evaded by a sufficiently determined fraudulent actor. This extends all the way to bots actually installing certain apps – and even paying for them – if it’s more profitable for the bot company.  Ad fraud is a constant cat-and-mouse game, and a company must be singularly focused on detecting all the various characteristics of bots; how they evolve over time, how to set up traps to detect them and the like in order to be effective. The issue with this method is that it is expensive – and ultimately it’s more effective for a company, like TripleLift, to partner with the industry leader than to try to develop their own in-house solution.

How exactly does the integration with White Ops work?

TripleLift has a pre-bid integration with White Ops, meaning that every single ad impression – before it even makes it on to our DSP partners – is scanned by White Ops. They will send us their determination about that impression and any bot traffic is simply dropped. This ensures that we never deliver ads to non-human traffic – and that non-human traffic doesn’t even make the logs of possible impressions that could ever serve through TripleLift.

What are TripleLift’s future plans to address the ongoing issue of fraud and brand safety?

Each platform makes a decision about what its nature is – is it a pure scale play with inexpensive inventory or is it a quality play? For TripleLift, we deliver premium native advertising on premium publishers, meaning we have an absolute commitment to quality. Every publisher on the platform is vetted by hand – we have a person-to-person relationship with each partner. We simply never allow non-vetted partners on our platform. Our native placements only work on a single publisher placement. So by nature, we’ve had a very low – well below industry average – fraud rate. TripleLift has effectively taken this to zero through our White Ops partnership. But, we continue to test probabilistically each publishing partner with a variety of third-party brand safety and fraud detection platforms to ensure every partner represents the highest quality. Ultimately, having this level of technological screening is very expensive to our business and it’s only viable if we represent premium publishers that sell high quality inventory. It is a virtuous cycle that is foundational to our business.