February 29, 2016

Leading the Fight Against Ad Fraud: The GroupM UK Strategy

Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship, but in 2015 it seemed in short supply across the digital ad industry. Studies highlighting fraud, brand safety, viewability and ad blocking risks chipped away at the trust between consumers, brands, publishers, agencies, and ad tech providers.

GroupM strongly believes the digital advertising market should be trustworthy. We are committed to mitigating all risks to our clients, through taking a lead in setting standards, supporting industry initiatives to uphold the highest standards of integrity.

Due to the risks in the market, and the responsibility we take in helping clients successfully navigate this, GroupM UK appointed a Digital Risk Director in 2015. This role is dedicated to media quality and data privacy policy, process and governance to protect our clients.

This article focuses on our zero tolerance approach to ad fraud.  Ad fraud is criminal activity, and there is no place for fraud within the ad industry. To help our clients mitigate the risks, GroupM implements four key strategies:

People: GroupM invests in analysts with expertise in detecting ad fraud, who develop proprietary methods for evaluating both new and existing programmatic media. New supply undergoes stringent onboarding checks, which cover a wide set of data sources to address all fraud, including ghost sites and content fraud. Delivery and performance metrics are closely monitored for any anomalies that could indicate bot activity, and all suspicious activity is paused until reviewed. As part of our proprietary approach to evaluating domains, all insights are stored in our comprehensive database that includes over 15,000 domains, so these learnings can be applied to future campaigns and we continuously improve our ability to detect ad fraud.

Technology: GroupM deploys independent and market-leading anti-fraud technology to block suspicious activity, and provide post-delivery analysis across display and video programmatic media. All fraud is investigated to ensure our clients are protected.

Protection: GroupM works closely with supply-side partners to agree strategies to combat fraud. Through collaboration between our experts across our network, we have built up the comprehensive GroupM Global Blacklist, which now contains more than 190,000 domains, and must be implemented for all programmatic activity. To further protect our clients we operate an immediate takedown policy, and seek compensation for any impressions that are identified to be fraudulent.

Procurement: GroupM buys directly from media owners to secure the very best inventory for our clients. Direct buying enables greater transparency, reducing the risk of ad injection or stacking, and site hijacking tactics such as domain spoofing.

GroupM has invested significant time, resource and effort in tackling this industry-wide issue. By tackling these fraud risks in collaboration with our partners across the industry, between us we can continue to enhance fraud protection for advertisers. We’re already seeing the fruits of these labours on our clients’ campaigns, and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect our clients and our business.


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