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Digital Advertising Leaders Must Address Fake News and Ad Fraud

January is in the books, and the digital advertising industry is banding together. In addition to Marc Pritchard, the Chief Brand Officer for the world’s biggest advertiser Procter & Gamble Co., calling on ad tech companies to clean up the digital space, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has also taken recent steps to do their part.

Decades ago the internet was born, and since, it has grown into an uncontrollable force that recently played a hand in determining the 45th United States Presidential election. How? You guessed it, fake news.

Fake news sites have rapidly emerged in the online world, and the worst part is that they disguise themselves with ads from major brands. Last year, fake news sites sported ads from companies like Choice Hotels, SoundCloud and Bose Corp., as reported by The Wall Street Journal reported.

With these debacles becoming more and more detrimental, the IAB President and Chief Executive Randall Rothenberg expressed his concerns at the IAB’s annual leadership meeting.

“If you do not seek to address fake news and the systems, processes, technologies, transactions, and relationships that allow it to flourish, then you are consciously abdicating responsibility for its outcome—the depletion of the truth and trust that undergird democratic capitalism.” — Randall Rothenberg

In addition to addressing fake news, the IAB also announced an overhaul to its content taxonomy, in an effort to increase transparency and attribution. This will help companies in the programmatic space better target content categories, as well as enhance the quality of data.

So the IAB, which develops industry standards, has officially taken a stand to say, the digital advertising space needs a facelift. This paired with P&G’s recent call to clean up the digital advertising space is a much needed step in the right direction. But how do we clean it up?

It really comes down to three things:

  • Standard Viewability Metrics
  • Fraud Protection
  • Third-Party Verification

And sure, a recent GroupM report uncovered that non-human impressions purchased by the biggest advertisers in Western markets is hovering around 2% (which is down from 30% just three years ago), but “that’s not zero,” says MediaPost.

So we’re moving in the right direction, but we must keep pushing forward. And the easiest way to do that is through the Media Rating Council (MRC), whose main goal is to ensure valid, reliable, and effective audience measurement standards, through audits and accreditation.

This is why Beachfront Media has seeked out partnerships with WhiteOps, the only MRC-accredited fraud detection vendor, and Moat, which is video ad viewability MRC certified. And with the world’s largest advertiser requiring this type of third-party verification from all future adtech partners, the industry will undoubtedly see more companies follow in these footsteps.

By Frank Sinton, Founder and CEO Beachfront Media