Brand Safety Issues Soar In Mobile Advertising

It would make sense that as tools are deployed more widely to protect against desktop ad fraud and to improve brand safety, criminals would move to the mobile environment.

After all, that's where digital ad dollars are flowing -- and that is where publishers may not yet have added protection to their sites.

This would certainly be the takeaway from the DoubleVerify Global Insights Report for 2019. The biggest increase in the report is for brand safety incidents, which are up 194%. To put that into perspective, the rate of brand safety issues affected just 0.8% of mobile ad placements two years ago, whereas now it is 5.2%.

It has to be pointed out that even this figure is a little flattering because it is a global average that is exceeded in the EMEA region, where brand safety incidents are averaging out just about the 8% mark.

Again, there is even more bad news closer to home when global figures for all ad fraud are drilled down into so the more local numbers can reveal themselves.

The UK takes the unfortunate crown of being the digital advertising market that is most prone to criminal activity, with a fraud rate of 2.4%. This is around 50% higher than Germany and twice that of Italy. However, to put the figures into perspective, the US is higher still, with an ad fraud rate of 3.4%.

The figures clearly show that it is not so much the country that fraudsters are targeting but rather the size of the opportunity.

With the UK way out ahead as the biggest digital advertising market in EMEA, it will obviously attract the highest levels of fraud, rather like the US's rate being nearly double that found in neighbouring Canada.

If this all sounds a little depressing, one silver lining is that viewability is up on mobile, compared to desktop and this is being driven within apps. Average desktop viewabiity of 56% leaps to 70% within mobile apps and desktop video viewability similarly booms from 64% to 73% in mobile apps.

The takeaway? Your ads, particularly video ads, stand a better chance of being viewed on mobile, particularly in a mobile app. However, as budget flows in vast quantities to this relatively new channel, it is not a surprise to hear that fraud rises and so too does a brand's exposure to unsafe placings and fraud.

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