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Media Contacts has introduced a content verification system across its display ad serving for the first time, making it the latest media agency attempting to assure brands their campaigns will only appear where they should be.

The Havas-owned media agency is using technology from US firm DoubleVerify, and joining a growing number of agency groups including Publicis and GroupM, to use new systems that show ad serving compliance.

According to DoubleVerify, up to 25% of online ads served in the UK are not appearing where they should be. The company has also claimed that some advertisers have experienced 7.4% of their ads served to users outside of the UK – not intended targets.

According to Media Contacts, the technology to track this has only recently become available for non-exchange inventory.

A spokeswoman for the agency said, “Previously content verification was based on trust with partners and now this technology gives us the chance to see for ourselves and ensure that ads are being served in environments our clients are comfortable with.”

A weekly report produced campaign break downs, showing screen shots of where ads are served.  

“It highlights where the ads have been served in inappropriate places, out of geographic regions and if the ads have been served at the bottom of the pager where no one can see it,” said the spokeswoman. “We get a report from each publisher to break down this information. We also send out an automatic email to our publisher partner prior to the campaign launch to notify that ads will be verified to show we are working as partners and not trying to catch them out.”

Brand safety and assurance that ads are being served where they should be is increasingly a concern for media agencies, which are building their own trading desks.

Last week, new media age reported that ABC is taking on the role of certifying businesses serving display advertising as having gone through a best practice audit, which includes content verification technology and brand safety in ad serving procedures.

To date, this came under the remit of IASH, set up by third-party ad networks and sales houses to indicate compliance and best practice.

However, given the widening display advertising market – with media agencies now taking on the role of trading desks and taking part in real-time bidding – IASH and the IAB has acknowledged a need to audit all businesses serving display campaigns, and not just ad networks and sales houses.

IASH has been testing real-time content verification technology as a way of detecting online ad misplacement in real time since last year.

Previously, prevention methods principally hinged on best practice, with ad houses accredited and endorsed by IASH following stringent six-monthly procedure-based audits.

However, the ad network regulatory body has been investigating how to pull together the range of existing technologies that pick up brand misplacement as it occurs to block the placement of ads within inappropriate content. Such technologies, already used by trading desks and real-time bidding specialists, pick up tagging errors and other oversights that procedure-based best practice audits can’t prevent.

Although many display advertising firms have been using content verification technology for some time now, IASH has been looking to create an overarching system that would work with both outsourced and in-house-developed technologies.

The ad network regulatory body was working with eight CV suppliers – AdSafe, AdSovo, Advert Angel, Adxpose, DoubleVerify, Project Sunblock, SafeServe and SiteScreen – to sketch out such a system.


Published 26 July, 2011 by NMA Staff

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