What to look out for when it comes to quality advertising inventory

In an effort to promote quality advertising inventory, PubMatic, the publisher-focused SSP, has just released a new white paper that discusses inventory quality and what publishers should look out for.

Specifically, the “Understanding Inventory Quality: Thinking Beyond Bots” report takes an in-depth look at non-human traffic, low-value human traffic, practices used to deceive traffic, mobile in-app inventory quality and outlooks for the future.

“Quality starts with content and continues with monitoring. The current focus on cleaning up ad fraud, though critical to ensuring the long-term health of the digital advertising ecosystem, serves as a distraction to the greater issues important to the industry,” says Bozinny. “Understanding how sites are created, designed and operated opens the door to making smart inventory quality policy.”

Here’s a brief summary of each category.

Non-human traffic

There are various types of non-human traffic. Generally, PubMatic recommends to protect against fraud by employing the relevant technology to ward off bad actors, and via mitigation once a bad ad has been delivered. This usually involves identification an impression as fraudulent and offering a refund to a buyer.

Low-value human traffic

This is technically not fraud, but often occurs when users didn’t actually select to visit a site in question. Click baits are one example that leads to low quality human traffic.

The report recommends checking a site’s content for real authors, inconsistent traffic patterns, generic ‘About Us’ pages and masked domain registrations.

Deceiving practices

PubMatic further discusses practices such as domain spoofing, which essentially can leads to traffic laundering to make a bid request seem more valuable for advertisers.

The ads.txt integration is a good and easy solution to help validate the authenticity of a bid request and ensure buyers are protected.

Mobile in-app inventory quality

Fraud is much harder to identify in-app and similarly content remains difficult to verify on mobile apps. Among the core challenges are device spoofing, app spoofing and location spoofing.

There are a few things publishers can do to stay protected. Firstly, it pays to look into a third-party fraud detection technology. Furthermore, publishers should choose apps where users actually consume content and stick to those on Android and iOS stores. Whitelisting apps is also common practice.

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