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White Ops and Accenture Interactive Examine Level of Belgian Advertising Fraud in New UBA Study

NEW YORK—(BUSINESS WIRE)—White Ops, the leading provider of human verification technology, and Accenture Interactive, the digital agency of the global professional services firm, today announced the results of a new joint research report on behalf of the Union of Belgian Advertisers (UBA). Using White Ops technology, the “2017 Sophisticated Invalid Traffic Assessment: The State of Ad Fraud in the Belgian Market,” evaluates the level of ad fraud facing Belgian advertisers based on 248 million ad impressions commissioned by UBA members, between January and February 2017.

The study concluded that sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) – which represents fraudulent traffic from bots – accounted for 2 percent of all desktop traffic. This finding suggests that Belgian advertisers are little affected by this type of fraud, compared to other markets, such as the U.S., where fraudulent levels ranged from 3 to 37 percent, according to prior White Ops research. Although fraud rates remain low, some publishers, campaign types and traffic sources experienced high levels of fraudulent activity.

“Ad fraud remains a major challenge that affects the entire digital ecosystem globally,” said Michael Tiffany, CEO of White Ops. “While it is reassuring to see the Belgian market experiencing relatively low levels of fraudulent traffic, we should not rejoice. This study should, on the contrary, give us an opportunity to end cybercriminals. To achieve this, advertisers, agencies, publishers and technology partners must work together to better detect and prevent ad fraud, optimize media investments and ensure a higher level of transparency.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • The Overall Fraud Encountered by UBA Members is Low – Across the entire study, SIVT accounted for only 2 percent of all non-mobile advertising activity measured.
  • Ad Impressions from EU Nations Result in Moderate Levels of Fraud, but U.S. and Russian Impressions Result in High Fraud – Approximately 21 percent of impressions coming from U.S. domains — nearly 180,000 total impressions — appear to be fraudulent invalid traffic from non-human sources. Additionally, Russian sources generated 26 percent SIVT, though it represented a smaller sample size of about 15,000 total impressions.
  • Smaller Campaigns Encounter a Greater Range of Fraud – This study found that larger campaigns tended to have less overall fraud. Due to greater variability, many smaller campaigns had higher fraud rates, topping 10 percent.
  • A Single Publisher Sourced Significant Fraud – When analyzing this data, we found three specific sites that were responsible for generating high rates of SIVT. Advertisements hosted on those sites saw 45 percent, 43 percent and 46 percent SIVT during the study period. All three sites belonged to the same publisher and created significant losses for advertisers.
  • A Few Domains are Sourcing the Most SIVT – Two sites accounted for a total of 1.1 million impressions and allowed about 36 percent SIVT each to UBA participant’s display ads.

Chris Van Roey, CEO of UBA, added: “Advertisers are worried today about their investments in online media. Their confidence in the sector is under severe strain: lack of brand safety, limitation of viewability, lack of reliable campaign measures, etc. Online ad fraud is also well placed in this agenda. Advertisers invest in digital ads that are ultimately not seen by anyone. At the international level, this fraud has reached extremely high levels. The UBA wanted for its members, and with them, to do its own study to assess the importance of this problem in Belgium. Within the UBA, a working group set up more than a year ago, carried out this study under the guidance of Karim Debbah, UBA Media Manager. Apparently, the results for our market reveal a limited level of fraud.”

“Digital advertising fraud is growing year on year at the pace of digital media spend. While helping our clients optimize their digital marketing spends, it seemed paramount for us to run this survey in Belgium to assess the level of fraud affecting the marketing efficiency of our clients. UBA and White Ops were then natural partners to run this initiative and we’re happy today to share its results,” said Wim Decraene, Head of Accenture Interactive for Belgium and Luxembourg.

Additional findings from the study indicate that more than 90 percent of desktop-focused advertising came from programmatic and direct campaigns. They also show an uneven distribution of visibility on the Belgian market, unlike other markets, such as the U.S., where botnet operators have developed more sophisticated methods, proving that not all bots are created equal. The findings also showed that 98 percent of traffic, and majority of fraud detected in UBA campaigns, was directed at desktop ads. This figure is consistent with data from the companies surveyed, indicating that advertisers spend more than half of their budget on desktop display and video advertising, and much less on mobile advertising. As mobile is a growing area of investment for all advertisers, it deserves additional monitoring.

For more information, download the complete study here.

About White Ops

White Ops is the global leader in human verification technology and data integrity. In 2016, White Ops was the first company to receive Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) detection, paving the way for the industry and offering a full suite solution that includes viewability, brand safety, fraud detection and pre-bid verification. Working with some of the best hackers and ad tech specialists in the world, we’re able to think outside the box and create the best solutions for our clients. To learn more, visit whiteops.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

About Accenture

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 401,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.

Accenture Interactive helps the world’s leading brands transform their customer experiences across the entire customer journey. Through our connected offerings in design, marketing, content and commerce, we create new ways to win in today’s experience-led economy. Accenture Interactive was ranked the world’s largest and fastest-growing digital agency in the latest Ad Age Agency Report. To learn more follow us @accenturesocial and visit www.accenture.com/interactive.

About UBA

UBA is the Belgian organisation made by brands, made for brands. Today, the UBA member community consists of 300 companies who account for the majority of national media investments. As a result, UBA is a unique platform enabling its members to protect the interests of brands and engage in the exchange of knowledge. Through its extensive range of activities and services, UBA stimulates a creative, innovative and transparent communication ecosystem enabling strong and sustainable brands. In the development of its activities and services, UBA consistently implements four strategic principles: inspire, impact, enable and connect. These principles guarantee a relevant service that makes brand builders stronger.


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