One in 100 ad impressions are affected by malicious ads

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. May 20, 2019

Almost one in every 100 impressions are impacted by malicious or disruptive ads, according to new research by ad security company Confiant.

Based on the analysis of more than 100 billion impressions, the latest Demand Quality Report for Q1 2019 examines the volume of malicious creative, in-banner video and low quality creatives that harm publishers on a daily basis.

When combined with estimates of four to five display ads per page and five pages per session, the findings suggest that more than 20% of user sessions could be affected by disrupted ads.

The report also noted that holidays and weekends saw higher numbers of incidents. Indeed, bank holiday and three-day weekends were found to have even higher spikes in malicious ads with President’s Day in the US seeing some of the highest activity in the US.

“This is Confiant’s fourth report and the first time we have access to year-over-year data. By sharing this data, publishers and platforms can better understand the health of the ad ecosystem and make decisions accordingly,” said Louis-David Mangin, Confiant’s CEO and cofounder. “Thankfully, malware and other ad quality issues are not intractable problems. With the right systems in place and commitment from the industry, we can tackle these issues.”

There continues to be a huge rift between good SSPs and bad platforms with the worst SSPs 67x more likely to deliver malicious ads.

However, over 60% of in-banner video ads and 60% of security issues were associated with just three SSPs highlighting that the problem is highly concentrated.

Google AdX was among the best performing SSPs, followed by SSP-B and SSP-E. The worst performers differ by disruptive ad type.

A comparison of different countries highlights that France faces some of the highest malicious violation rates, whilst in-banner video and low quality ads were higher in the US.

Although Confiant observed a substantial decrease in violation rates between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019 driven by ads.txt adoptions and supply path optimisations, malicious ads continue to be a problem. Concentration to few platforms means that publishers have an opportunity to exclude bad-performers.