Commentary

Q2 Was The Best Of Programmatic Ad Quality, Q2 Was The Worst...

Mixed signals are coming from two reputable sources on the quality of programmatic ad inventory. According to one -- cybersecurity firm Confiant -- the overall quality of programmatic ad inventory has risen to its highest level in the second quarter of 2019. According to digital ad fraud management firm Pixalate, nearly a fifth of all programmatic ad inventory still is fraudulent.

Part of the disconnect no doubt comes from the different ways these firms look at programmatic ad quality.

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Confiant, which has been tracking programmatic ad quality for five consecutive quarters, buckets it into three groups -- in-banner video ads, explicitly malicious ones, and generally "low quality" ads that don't live up to the general criteria accepted by most advertisers -- but none of them are explicitly tracking fraudulent ads.

The good news, according to Confiant, is ads falling into these buckets has fallen to the lowest level yet -- just fractions of a percentage point.

The bad news, according to Pixalate, is that ads categorized explicitly as fraudulent -- defined as ads being served to "audiences" known to be "invalid traffic," still represents about 19% of all programmatic ads served during the second quarter of this year.

That ranks the U.S. ninth among the top 15 nations.

Significantly, Pixalate finds such fraud is pervasive across all types of digital ad inventory in the U.S., including 25% of all mobile in-app ads, 22% of all programmatic OTT or CTV (connected TV) ads, and 29% of all (iOS) social media apps.

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