Why And How Roku Developed Advertising Watermarks

Device spoofing used by scammers to pretend that a desktop or mobile device is a TV streaming device is one of the challenges Roku has dealt with recently.

Roku on Wednesday released an Advertising Watermark that integrates with its operating system to automatically verify publisher ad requests and impressions so that advertisers know they are reaching genuine Roku users. The technology is free.

It’s aimed at helping advertisers and publishers validate the authenticity of video ads originating on the Roku platform. While ad spoofing in TV streaming remains rare, this technology will help the industry deter bad actors and improve ad effectiveness, according to the company.

“The Roku Ads Watermark is a signature generated with API call on a Roku device that is sent along with an ad request or impression beacon in the HTTP request header to downstream partners,” said Adam Markey, director of product management, Ad Platform at Roku.



He said this can be validated with a public key by one of Roku’s partners directly on these requests from devices.

Roku’s Advertising Watermark was a collaboration between Roku’s Operating System, App Store, and Advertising product teams, Markey said. The biggest challenges are developing it, balancing ease of use and activation, security, privacy across Roku’s advertiser and publisher ecosystem, which Markey believes the company got correct with this release, but will continue to monitor as adoption picks up.  

For advertisers such as Google and Innovid, this means increased protection against spoofed inventory and loss of spend to bad actors, ensuring advertisers are buying genuine Roku streamers.  

Ad technology providers integrating Roku’s Advertising Watermark at launch include Basis Technologies, Google, HUMAN, Innovid, and Magnite. Publishers.

They use Roku’s Advertising Watermark to sell their own ad inventory include Discovery, FOX, and more. OneView by Roku will be the first ad buying platform to offer ad inventory automatically validated by Roku’s Advertising Watermark.

Publishers can use it too. Developed to combat device spoofing, Roku’s Advertising Watermark integrates with the Roku operating system to automatically verify publisher ad requests and impressions, giving advertisers increased confidence and knowledge that they are reaching genuine Roku users.

Publishers that have previously integrated with Roku’s APIs can generate these watermarks and have the ability to validate those watermarks on subsequent requests downstream. 

Markey said publishers will have increased protection against spoofed inventory and loss of revenue to bad actors, increasing the trust and value of publisher inventory on Roku’s platform. 

Next story loading loading..