How to Avoid CTV Ad Fraud and Fake Content


David Simutis
How to Avoid CTV Ad Fraud and Fake Content

Do you know how to spot a fake? 

Advertisers who are well-versed in programmatic display are familiar with issues of fraud and non-human traffic. But connected TV content, despite being known for its premium inventory, can also be fraudulent, or fake. Instead of bot traffic (though that happens in CTV, too), fake content in CTV consists of screensaver channels, photo widgets, games, and mobile. Here’s how and how often fake content is making its way into CTV campaigns. 

Fake CTV content by the numbers 

Peer39’s inaugural Q1 2022 Programmatic CTV Benchmarks Report unearthed some worrying statistics about fake CTV content. By looking across hundreds of billions of impressions in open bid programmatic, we found that:

  • Between 2% and 18.5% of inventory ran on fake content throughout the quarter.
  • Fake CTV content accounted for 4.43% of all ad calls. 
  • There are estimates reporting that a single connected CTV ad fraud scheme can take in $10 million in revenue every single month

It isn’t just about fake CTV content. Advertisers also want to do their best to avoid sensitive, unprofessional, and certain user-generated content. Our report found that unprofessionally-produced content averaged around 13% of total impression volume.

Know you’re running on quality content with transparency reporting 

To date, marketers have lacked campaign-level visibility of channel, content categories, and delivery performance of their programmatic CTV buys. When advertisers better understand where their CTV ad buys ran and how their campaigns compare to the rest of the industry, they can work towards avoiding fake, unprofessional, and UGC content. You can do this by tapping into granular, normalized campaign-level reporting data from across the programmatic CTV landscape. 

Peer39’s CTV Transparency Report creates innovative opportunities for campaign analysis and optimization with previously unavailable visibility. We pull from our vast CTV taxonomy of over 1,000 contextual, suitability and quality categories, giving advertisers insights and context for optimization of CTV campaigns. Our CTV categorization happens in real-time, ensuring advertisers have access to inventory faster and avoid problematic placements the minute campaigns launch.

To help advertisers further meet their specific audience targeting and brand safety goals, we’ve created brand safety and suitability categories purpose-built for CTV. These categories can be combined with channel and content targeting using CTV-specific categories: 

  • Our “Safe from Fake Content” category keeps you from running on non-streaming environments such as screensavers or mobile apps—places that should never serve a CTV ad. With few unverified apps available, this can still happen on seemingly "legitimate" apps. This category will also give you the best and most robust results from our Transparency Report for CTV. 
  • Our broader “Safe from” category prevents your CTV ads from running on anime, blind inventory, kids' content, news, sensitive content, and unprofessional content. 
  • Our “Safe from Non-OTT Apps” category keeps your ads away from casting, beaming, and media players, games, radio and podcasts, screensavers/wallpaper, and video/photo widgets. 

This can be overlaid with:

  • Targeting by specific app stores (Apple, GooglePlay, etc.)
  • Device/platform
  • OTT service (Hulu, Sling, Tivo)
  • Content type (Discover, HBO, etc.) 
  • Production type (UGC, Professional)
  • Content category (Entertainment, Finance, Health, Nature, Sci-Fi, etc.)

Fake CTV Content Can Be Avoided

Of the expected benefits of adopting CTV advertising, 44% of advertisers report comprehensive measurement and data insights as one of them. Getting access to the right data in the right format is the key to realizing that potential in your CTV advertising and ensuring you run on high-quality inventory, not fakes.

To keep your ad spend from being wasted on the wrong kind of content, check out our Safe From Fake Content category in our UI by filling out the form below.

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