CTV Frauds: How to Protect Your Channel

Oct 24, 2020

Whatever the cutting-edge digital tools and techniques marketers use, fraud in advertising still exists, incurs losses and, what is especially dangerous, gains its strength. You may spend thousands of dollars on your advertising campaign, but fraudsters can spoil the whole thing with their dirty tricks. They are hard to disclose, and very often everything you can do is just to notice the suspicious activity but you can’t fight it and you can’t get your money back.

What is ad fraud and how does it influence CTV?

Digital ad fraud implies malicious actions aimed at getting income by “stealing” the money marketers spend on programmatic digital advertising. The point is that fraudsters manipulate the delivery of the ads and due to this the content doesn’t reach the targeted audience. Connected TV is a rapidly evolving area with significant cash flow, and scammers are always where the big money is. Taking into account that the chances of being caught are minimal, no wonder video ad fraud masters become more active and inventive in their criminal techniques.

Types of CTV fraud

The statistics is disappointing: 1200+ scammer CTV apps were discovered since 2019, and from the beginning of 2020 fraudulent traffic has increased by 161%. Impostors are advancing, and there are several major types of ad fraud the CTV area suffers from.


Spoofing tricks are the easiest and most widespread fraud methods. Scammers fake websites making them look like genuine ones. They impersonate domains so skillfully that advertisers don’t notice that the site they choose for ad display is not a legitimate source.


It is one of the most popular ways of advertising frauds implementation. Bots pretend to be unique viewers and interact with advertisements. In other words, advertisers think that a human sees and clicks the ad but in fact, it is a tool impersonating a real viewer.

Apps crawling 

Some apps are not what they seem to be, i.e. are not the original apps, but their fraudulent copies. The user may not know that the app sends scammy requests, but it does. You can find out that fraudulent actions take place within a day just by monitoring the high activity of apps.

CTV ad fraud through devices

Scammers may install fraudful software on the devices through which false interactions with targeted ads take place. For example, bots imitate humans generating lots of fake clicks through websites and applications. If you notice a tremendous amount of ad requests from one device, have no doubt scammers are in action.

How to confront the ad fraud

The worst thing about CTV ad fraud is you can’t get your investments back, but all is not lost. Luckily, not only scammers improve their tools but CTV platforms also work on protecting publishers and advertisers from being deceived by improving their ad fraud detection tools. Forewarned is forearmed, so we want you to be aware of several ways you can confront the fraud by implementing the following preventive measures.

Use ads.text

In 2017 the Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab created ads.text – a file with the list of all legitimate vendors. Thus marketers may check whether this or that company is authorized to sell the inventory while buying the ads. There is also an app-ads.txt for advertising agencies and programmatic platforms where mobile developers list legitimate publishers. It is crucial not to make mistakes in the file for the demand-side platforms to filter the fraudulent inventory correctly. However, though ads.txt is good for avoiding domain spoofing it can hardly stop the traffic generated by non-humans.

Chose providers wisely

It is crucial to be sure of the propriety of the partner you entrust your advertising campaign to. It is better to spend time choosing the right provider than to spend money on fraudsters. Purchase from the publishers you can trust with no doubt, otherwise, don’t forget to verify the source as it may save you both time and money.

Verify the location

If you work with trustworthy companies, you can always request the detailed metrics concerning the location of the viewers who interact with your ads. Due to such reports, you can notice some suspicious activity and adjust or fix your campaign on the go.

Involve third parties

Analyzing how the ads are performed allows you to increase the efficiency of the campaign. Some third-party services like WhiteOps and DoubleVerify can help you make sure your ads are displayed properly by tracking the performance, analyzing the traffic, detecting bots, and verifying millions of interactions with your ad. Moreover, such services are also capable of uncovering such fraudulent operations as ICEBUCKET, DiCaprio, and others.

Stick to reports

Take your time to monitor the effectiveness of your ad campaign. Use tools and software able to control traffic and interactions in detail. Analyze both data and activity to find out what’s suspicious and what’s to be improved or changed within your campaign.

What are the fraud predictions for the CTV environment?

Unfortunately, scammers won’t stop doing their thing, and fraudulent techniques will only improve. Scammers’ schemes operate on various levels within the digital advertising, and they continue not only doing tricks with traffic but also performing impersonation and imitation of the real viewers’ activity, as well as manipulating with metrics. Taking it into account, a holistic approach should be implemented and more powerful tools must be used against malicious activity. As CTV gathers pace, more attention will be paid to brand safety and the clarity of ad campaigns settlement. Moreover, third-party services are researching all ins and outs of CTV fraud schemes and are ready to develop more complex and effective solutions to fight scammers.