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Q&A with Ogury: Fraud Prevention and User-Driven Mobile Advertising

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    There used to be a time when handshakes and words were enough to bind a contract, but when purchasing advertising online these days, it's best to follow a Russian proverb like President Reagan did: "Trust, but Verify". Online websites and publishers are rampant with invalid mobile traffic and ad fraud schemes that were estimated to siphon $42 billion from advertisers across the globe last year by misrepresenting impressions, clicks, conversion, or data events to generate revenue.

    Ogury is a mobile AdTech company that recently announced their partnership with DoubleVerify, a leader in authenticating the quality of digital media ensuring viewable, fraud-free, brand-safe ads. Recently, we spoke with Antoine Barbier, Senior Vice President of Product at Ogury, to hear more of his thoughts on why data protection and security — and verifying results — is so important for mobile advertisers.

    1) Please share a brief background on the company.

    Ogury is a mobile adtech company and the creator of the first advertising engine driven by user choice. We are the global leader in choice-driven advertising with 400+ employees across 10 countries, dedicated to building the future of the advertising industry.

    We work with top brands including Levi’s, Bose, HP and Santander to generate impactful mobile ad campaigns, powered by safe data, collected and used with the explicit permission of the consumer. We also partner with publishers and equip them with technology and advertising demand that will significantly increase their mobile media revenue.

    2) You state “Ogury is the creator of the first advertising engine driven by user choice.” Can you expand on what you mean by “user choice” and provide a use case example of what this means to advertisers?

    Ogury offers a new way to advertise on mobile, driven by user choice, from sharing data to engaging with ads. 

    At the beginning of the advertising chain, users have choice and control over what data they share for advertising purposes. Crucially, we provide users with the option to remove their consent at any time if they choose to, empowering mobile users. This means advertisers are able to deliver choice-driven campaigns with consented users who want to be engaged and have a greater degree of trust in the brand.

    Through our innovative ad formats, we’re also able to provide users greater control over their ad experience. For example, earlier this year we launched Video Chooser, a new way brands can showcase full-screen mobile ads while giving users complete control over their ad experience. Video Chooser shows the consumer a choice of up to three brand ads and they then choose to watch the advert which appeals most to them. Video Chooser doesn’t just respect user choice but also benefits advertisers by creating stronger engagement. For instance, Video Chooser’s ad recall on average increased by 300% in comparison to traditional video ads.

    3) Can you share a bit about why the “three pillars of mobile advertising” are so important; data safety, ensuring traceable and trusted consent?

    Ogury has three pillars of mobile advertising for brand protection which are: Fraud prevention, brand safety, and data safety. All three of these pillars are equally important for brands to run effective and safe advertising campaigns. Following the release of our proprietary app spoofing technology and our partnership with DoubleVerify, we have strengthened our fraud prevention pillar to protect advertisers from fraud on multiple levels, especially before advertising bids are placed, which prevents money from reaching fraudsters.

    For brand safety, we ensure all partners are vetted to ensure appropriate content for our advertisers. Due to our direct relationships with publishers, we are extremely strong in this area.

    Data safety means ensuring traceable and trusted consent in compliance with GDPR and CCPA. Informed consent is freely given by consumers and is traceable to ensure consent is shared throughout the entire data lifecycle. We call data which is captured and used without trusted and traceable consent ‘Toxic data’  and believe that the financial, legal, and reputational risks associated with using toxic data can (and will) destroy brands.

    4) For companies navigating the compliance landscape including GDPR and CCPA, what should they know about Ogury?

    GDPR and CCPA are just two landmark data regulations which make up the increasingly complex compliance landscape companies have to navigate. For instance, just last month, Brazil implemented the Brazilian General Data Protection Law (LGPD). Businesses with a global outlook face a significant challenge understanding the nuances of each individual law and adapting their data collection practices. If companies aren’t able to achieve full compliance, they face hefty fines and irreparable brand damage.

    We have always placed user consent at the core of our technology since Ogury’s creation in 2014, four years prior to GDPR’s arrival. Our expertise in consent management helps us to support advertisers and publishers to stay ahead of the evolving data regulation landscape. Ogury only uses safe data and has proven that it’s possible to respect users while also delivering business results.

    5) DoubleVerify offers a fraud solution which detects all types of sophisticated invalid traffic including app fraud, malware, hijacked devices, and more. How do you describe the relationship between your two companies? Is it a partnership through licensing, acquisition, and is there an element of exclusivity?

    We’ve partnered with DoubleVerify through a licensing agreement to enhance our fraud prevention capabilities. DoubleVerify’s holistic fraud avoidance solution, a technology offered by default on every Ogury campaign, enables us to detect and block all types of fraud and invalid traffic before impressions are monetized, proactively safeguarding advertisers' brand dollars, and ensuring a stronger ROI.

    This solution compliments our Proprietary App Spoofing Prevention technology, which verifies bid request data so apps cannot misrepresent where the impression will show. The technology validates that the user owns the app represented in the bid request, finding instances of app spoofing beyond what can be identified by any third-party vendor.

    Together, these enhancements add two layers of fraud prevention to ensure ads are delivered to real humans in the intended environment. 

    6) Was this partnership an example of seeking out a best in class solution partner rather than building something of a similar nature in-house?

    We have already developed robust in-house fraud prevention capabilities and have enhanced our offering through proactive technology to combat app spoofing by detecting, blocking and future-proofing against all possible instances.

    We chose to partner with DoubleVerify to provide an additional layer of fraud protection due to their market-leading technology which has the advanced ability to block the widest range of fraudulent activity, with smart detection to prevent new types of fraud before it occurs.

    Fraud continues to evolve and we place value in creating and advancing anti-fraud solutions which are able to keep ahead of fraudsters’ tactics. The release of our proprietary technology and our partnership with DoubleVerify strengthen our fraud prevention capabilities, employing multiple levels of protection to ensure advertisers are protected pre-bid, and enabling advertisers to run virtually fraud free campaigns

    7) You mention “According to a report from Juniper Research, invalid traffic and fraud schemes were estimated to siphon $42 billion from advertisers across the globe last year by misrepresenting impressions, clicks, conversion or data events to generate revenue.” What is the motivation of the fraudsters to perpetrate these misrepresentations?

    Digital advertising continues to generate significant revenue which attracts fraudsters. Last year, UK advertisers spent £15.69 billion on digital advertising, an increase of 15.4% year on year. Fraudsters look to steal this revenue and exploit advertising models by perpetuating misrepresentations of clicks and impressions. In 2019, fraudsters siphoned off $42 billion from advertisers globally through these deceitful methods, which worryingly amounts to two-thirds of total TV ad spend in the US every year.

    It’s vital to block instances of fraud before ad revenue is stolen and in the pockets of fraudsters. In the case of app spoofing, fraudsters steal ad spend by disguising a low quality or low volume app as a well-known publisher, such as The Wall Street Journal. This fraudulent app, which for this example we’ll refer to as ‘BadApp’, places a bid request while pretending to be The Wall Street Journal. Advertisers are tricked into buying ad space, as they believe BadApp is The Wall Street Journal and are prepared to pay a high price to be placed in a reputable media app. However the ad is never placed and BadApp intercepts the advertising spend, wasting advertisers’ budgets.

    Through our proprietary technology and due to Ogury’s unique view of user app possession, we’re able to check in real-time if bid requests are created by a legitimate app owner or not, and take immediate action. By blocking the fraudulent activity before the ad spend has been allocated to the spoof app, advertising budgets are protected and the ad dollars go to the intended publisher.

    8) Who are the “victims” of the fraud and who should be most concerned about protecting themselves?

    Advertisers and publishers are both victims of ad fraud. Advertisers lose carefully allocated advertising budget to fraudsters and publishers lose vital revenue. In the case of app spoofing, additional damage is caused to both parties. Advertisers may be unaware they’ve placed an ad with a spoof app and believe their campaign ran as intended. When campaign goals aren’t reached, advertisers may choose to avoid that publisher due to poor performance. This can cause significant brand damage to publishers.

    Both parties should be equally concerned about protecting themselves from ad fraud as it affects both ends of the value chain. Advertisers should protect themselves by adopting advanced technology solutions, like a pre-bid anti app spoofing solution and keeping an up-to-date anti-spoof safelist of trusted and verified publishers.

    Publishers should demonstrate their legitimacy to advertisers by providing an apps-ads.txt file, which specifies which parties are authorized to sell or resell their inventory. By creating and updating this file, publishers meet the IAB’S anti-fraud practices for transparency, a highly-respected standard in the advertising industry.


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