The pursuit of high ad quality

Ad quality as a concept and in practice—ensuring that all ads adhere to brand safety, viewability and fraud prevention—is a natural part of digital media buying. CMOs expect a few things: to have real people see their ads (not bots); that their ads will appear next to content appropriate for their brand; and that the ads are viewable on a webpage or within an app.

An ad that can check all three boxes is considered to have met a high level of quality; however, if any of these three is not addressed, it not only means poor ad quality, but poor campaign performance and/or potential damage to brand perception.

Here’s the key: these three pieces, particularly viewability and fraud, can be very closely linked. That’s why it’s important all three are addressed simultaneously. As one example, fraudsters know viewability is a key metric for advertisers, so they find ways to work around it, employing tactics that make it appears an ad was viewed by a real person.

I spoke with members of the editorial team at Adweek earlier this summer about this topic, with a heavy emphasis on ad fraud, and the below videos are the outcome of that discussion.

The first video outlines the most common types of ad fraud.


The second video details how an ad becomes fraudulent.


While avoiding fraud seems impossible, it’s not.

At Epsilon-Conversant, we use our proprietary transaction-based audience identification technology to filter out fraud by focusing on people instead of cookies or devices. Our technology is one of several examples for fraud prevention, but the bottom line is simple: brands cannot achieve perfect ad quality with zero exposure to suspicious traffic in today’s digital landscape.

Any digital media company that says it’s possible is not being honest with you. However, brands can take steps to get as close to perfect as possible. As I’ve said before, with the right technology and people, and good common sense, you can shepherd your brand forward and drive the best possible performance. Because, in the end, good ad quality leads to advertising that works and helps build brands.