Connected TV

Does CTV Have a Security Problem?

Scams are on the rise, but protection is easier than you think

Does CTV Have a Security Problem?

4 Min Read

With its soaring viewership rates and suite of must-see content, Connected TV has become a hot – and necessary – advertising platform. But with that soaring popularity comes scam artists, costing advertisers millions and shaking trust.

Now the IAB Tech Lab, a non-profit consortium that provides standards to drive global digital media growth, is pushing for a series of tech standards to win marketer confidence and provide a secure environment for CTV. But are their standards reasonable? And what can advertisers do in the meantime? Thankfully, CTV security may be more achievable than you think.

Why CTV Attracts Scam Artists

CTV has experienced an explosion of popularity during the pandemic, which has led to an influx of advertiser attention and dollars. As these ad investments have risen, so too have the number of scams looking to siphon off money. DiCaprio, Monarch, and SmokeScreen have been just a few of the CTV scams that have fooled advertisers and cost millions of dollars in lost advertising revenue in just the past year.

CTV scams often exploit loopholes in how CTV ads are served, known as server-side ad insertion (SSAI). SSAI loads ads in bulk to prevent viewing experience disruptions – think of it like a warehouse where ads are stored until it’s time to be loaded onto a conveyor belt for delivery. Because of just how many ads are stored in this warehouse, malicious scammers can easily hide in plain sight – defrauding advertisers through methods like emulating views or spoofing valid premium media. The result is millions of dollars in lost advertising spend and inaccurate viewership metrics. 

Securing a Future for CTV

Because of the severe impact of these scams, IAB Tech Lab’s security ambitions are to both achieve a secure CTV environment and help the platform grow. Experts note that these security scams, along with the media attention they get, may in part be holding back CTV from achieving its true potential and overtaking linear TV

Tech Lab’s security standard proposal includes methods such as reviving ads.cert, a verification standard that debuted as part of OpenRTB 3.0. Unveiled in 2017, OpenRTB 3.0 failed to take off thanks to it requiring a major overhaul in a company’s programmatic infrastructure. Many companies simply couldn’t – and still can’t – dedicate the amount of time, energy, and resources this kind of restructuring would cost. As IAB Tech Lab pushes to reignite interest around OpenRTB 3.0, many brands are wondering what they can do in the meantime to protect their ad budgets.

A Premium Solution for Brands

While we wait for a dedicated tech standard to be implemented, CTV can still be an exceptionally secure ad channel if you’re following best practices and working with trusted organizations. A great way for brands to protect themselves is by purchasing premium inventory.

Premium inventory are ad spots on the most trusted top-tier networks. These name-brand channels attract a lot of attention, are highly desirable, and are often hard to find on an open marketplace. Most premium inventory hits private marketplaces (PMPs) long before they make their way to open ones. If they somehow make it through multiple PMPs without being snatched up and hit an open marketplace, it can quickly devolve into a fierce bidding war – with smaller companies unable to outspend the bigger advertising fish.

In an age of CTV scams, premium inventory is more important than ever for security – which is why we make it easy for brands of all sizes to buy it. Rather than serving ads on every channel and constantly blacklisting the new ones susceptible to fraud, MNTN whitelists the most premium networks that deliver the best results and brand safety measures for advertisers. Then our Living Room Quality feature takes that list of premium networks and only serves ads on them across TV-connected devices. And because we believe all brands should have access to CTV advertising, we utilize our publisher-direct relationships to drive down costs and provide some of the most coveted premium inventory.

Read More: Difference Between OTT and CTV

Securing a Brighter Future

As CTV / OTT advertising platforms continue to skyrocket in popularity and advertisers apply larger budgets, it will attract more fraudsters looking to make a quick buck. Until there’s a universal security measurement applied to CTV, savvy advertisers and brands can continue to rest easy knowing they’re taking the necessary steps to protect their budgets – while reaping all the benefits that CTV offers.