An Open Letter by CEO Bill Day on Advertising Fraud and Tremor Video’s Commitment to a Higher Standard
October 2, 2013
Partners, Clients and Colleagues,
You may have seen an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about the growing concern of bot traffic on the Web. I’d like to share Tremor Video’s point of view on the serious issue of advertising fraud, and outline the steps we take to ensure that our clients remain unaffected by these activities.
Our approach to digital video – from our higher order products to the environments within which we choose to deliver ads – sets Tremor Video up to be far less susceptible than others to fraud. We recognize that opportunities for fraudulent activity still persist, which is why we depend on third-party partners with deep expertise in combating fraud to verify, study, and report on our premium publisher network and our methodologies. This is what gives us the confidence to partner with brand marketers and their agencies to reach real consumers and measure real success.
I am proud to lead the company that believes that TV and video can work brilliantly together across screens to build brands in new and exciting ways. Since day one, Tremor Video has been uniquely committed to providing our clients with the highest quality environments, the most effective placements and complete transparency around what’s working and why.
Collectively, we must demand more from our industry and help brand marketers and their agencies leverage the new digital world so that brand marketing can flourish online. I ask all of you – and our competitors – to share in our commitment to the relentless pursuit of high industry standards for online brand advertising.
Ask the right questions. Insist on complete and acceptable answers. Support the companies that deserve your business based on trusted, proven results, and feel confident walking away from those where too many questions remain unanswered.
If any uncertainty remains after studying the attached outline of our unique approach, please reach out to me directly at the email below.
Our mission – to bring the certainty of science to the art of brand marketing – continues to drive us to create ads people want and campaigns that work.
CEO, Tremor Video
ENSURING HIGHEST QUALITY BRAND-CONSUMER CONNECTIONS
TREMOR VIDEO’S COMPREHENSIVE 10-POINT APPROACH
1. APPROACH TO PREMIUM CONTENT FOOTPRINT
We continuously strive for the optimal balance of quantity (scale) and quality (premium content) by way of our 100% direct relationships with 500 rigorously vetted well-known, premium video publishers, nearly 200 of which exclusively work with Tremor Video. Chasing quantity over quality, whether via network, ad exchange or even an O&O model, does not serve brand goals. We continuously monitor a range of metrics like average viewability, time spent, completion rates and engagement rates for multi-variant verification of quality.
2. MOVE TO 100% IN-STREAM VIDEO
Our singular focus on digital video for brand goals led us to make the important decision in July 2013 to move 100% of our online business to in-stream video and leave the video-in-banner display world to others. We believe in-stream video is the right place for the power of TV to move effortlessly to online video. But just as importantly, it shields our company from the rampant fraud in display advertising.
3. FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE-BASED, HIGHER ORDER MODELS
We are pioneers of performance-based buying models and technologies designed to drive brand lift and greater consideration, perception and intent. Our products invite and enable meaningful consumer interactions with brand messages which, in turn, virtually eliminate the potential for fraud.
4. BRAND SAFETY AT VIDEO STREAM LEVEL
For 8 years our partners have been relying on our granular approach to brand safety, right down to the specific ad-to-content adjacency. We review every video stream to determine its brand-worthiness, and on a daily basis filter out 4 to 5 million content videos based on these results. That’s $18 million in bad adjacencies avoided for our clients. On top of delivering rigorous brand safety, this deep understanding of the content enables us to provide unmatched insight into what specific types of content adjacencies are driving the greatest effectiveness.
5. DEEP SITE AND STREAM ANALYTICS
6. UNDERSTANDING OF HOW OUR PARTNERS DRIVE TRAFFIC
We meet with and complete deep analysis of dozens of traffic driving companies. We understand how they work and what to look for.
7. EXPERTISE IN INTERNET FRAUD
We have long partnered with one of the leading authorities on the subject of advertising fraud. Through this partnership, we ask for a full, independent analysis of any potentially suspicious activity.
8. PARTNERSHIP WITH FRAUD DETECTION COMPANIES
We are currently partnering with White Ops and other fraud detection companies so we can proactively maintain the highest quality, most effective content footprint for our marketing partners and their agencies. These companies have built the most sophisticated technology possible for the detection of and systematic defense against ad fraud and they bring invaluable verification to our company for the benefit of our partners.
9. MRC-ACCREDITATION AND ADCHOICES IMPLEMENTATION
We submit every metric that underpins our value proposition to the MRC audit committee for accreditation. Opening up our robust technology and sophisticated measurement tools to independent 3rd party scrutiny is central to our mission and values. While the industry debates a “basic” standard for video viewability, our method of measurement – which reports on this critical metric across the full duration of an ad — has already been accredited by the MRC. While we all agree that fraudulent bot traffic is bad for everyone, we should acknowledge that a paid ad that is not viewable is not much better.
In another industry-leading move, we were the first video advertising company to implement the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) Advertising Option icon and accompanying “AdChoices” text for pre-roll and third-party served in-stream ads. This allows for consumers to learn which company served the ad, and opt out of cookie-targeted ads. It’s been two years since this implementation, and an industry standard still does not exist. AdChoices is another example of our commitment to doing what’s best for the consumer, and therefore brands, even before standards are developed.
10. INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP
We are active participants in the IAB Traffic of Good Intent (TOGI) Task Force in which digital advertising companies work together to define and set rules around bot traffic, among other critical issues. We are proactive, engaged and continually driving for strict standards.
Download Bill’s letter and our 10-point commitment to a higher standard.