S4M Depolys zvelo’s Invalid Traffic (IVT) Dataset to Combat Ad Fraud



S4m Has Chosen Zvelo’s Ad Fraud Solution— Invalid Traffic (IVT) Dataset For Data Center IP Traffic Filtration.

zvelo, a leading provider of categorization services for web content, web traffic and web-connected devices, announced that S4M (Success for Mobile) has successfully deployed zvelo’s new Invalid Traffic (IVT) dataset to combat ad fraud. S4M is a mobile- adtech company which offers a premium programmatic platform for advertisers and brands.

Ad Fraud is Not a Victimless Crime, Says Jeff Finn

Currently, S4M is the only technology accredited by the Media Rating Council (MRC) for the entire mobile user journey – and the only European company with the certification. In order to renew their accreditation, S4M set out to reinforce its data center IP filtration by complementing existing FUSIO fraud traffic filtration based on the IAB spider list and activity-based methodologies.

Ad Fraud

The IVT dataset – part of zvelo’s comprehensive ad fraud solution that also includes the Free Bot Detection Service and Comprehensive Page-level Traffic (CPT) dataset – is a continuously updated feed of IPs recognized as sources of non-human and bot traffic (NHT). This traffic can include the activities of data centers, web crawlers, fake crawlers, and malicious bots. Implementing the IVT dataset, programmatic platform businesses such as S4M can effectively perform pre-bid blocking of NHT-based impressions, thereby eliminating wasteful spending on suspicious and fraudulent ad traffic.

Interview with Jeff Finn, CEO at zvelo

Jeff Finn
Jeff Finn, CEO at zvelo

We spoke to Jeff Finn, CEO at zvelo, to understand the evolution of programmatic advertising and the impact of ad fraud on its growth.

MTS: How do you see the evolution of programmatic advertising and the impact of ad fraud on its  growth?

Jeff Finn: According to various reports, Ad Fraud is a problem that affects 10-20% or more of the online programmatic advertising industry.  Anecdotal feedback and empirical analysis of zvelo’s partners shows a range of 5% to more than 50% of campaign ads being served to bots.

IAB recently reported that online advertising exceeded $21 billion in the 4th Quarter of 2016, meaning Ad Fraud siphoned off $ 2-4 billion from advertisers’ spends, in a single quarter. The impact on the growth of online advertising is not just being felt by the pushback from advertisers such as P&G, who are saying enough is enough. The impact is much more profound as Ad Fraud is not just a financial cost to the advertising industry, but a moral challenge as well.

Ad Fraud is not a victimless crime. Ad Fraud committed by criminal organizations and hackers help fund their activities such as drug trafficking, massive DDoS attacks, ransom ware and more, however, the same techniques can easily be used by terrorists or other rogue actors. The question for the Ad Tech industry is how long will they allow 10 cents or more of every dollar of online advertising to fund these activities?  More than the economic cost of Ad Fraud, it could very well be the public’s moral outrage when they understand how the proceeds of Ad Fraud are being used, that will prove to be the biggest growth challenge.

MTS: How would you define ad fraud and brand safety in the programmatic mobile ecosystem?

Jeff Finn: There are several types of ad fraud.  It could be an unsavoury publisher selling multiple ads for the same real-estate or running ads out of the view screen, or buying traffic extension (with a wink and nod) to boost the perceived traffic to their website, knowing that the traffic boost comes from bots or low-quality humans with no intention or ability to buy.  Ad Fraud can be a hacker setting up false websites and using bot armies to drive traffic to the websites, thereby gaming the programmatic buying platforms that interpret the new website and traffic as an “opportunity” for placing ads.

Ad Fraud could be hackers using domain spoofing in the OpenRTB request to fake the buying platforms into believing they are bidding on premium inventory.  In these scenarios, advertisers are unknowingly buying ads that are not being seen by humans.

Brand Safety is when the advertiser is placing their ad on a web page that has content (text, video, comments, etc.) that is consistent with the image the brand is building. Conversely, non-brand safe means placing an ad on a page with content that is not brand safe.  For a Fortune 500 brand, placing their ads on pages with violent imagery, terrorism, pornography and similarly “non-brand safe” content could quickly create the wrong kind of headlines and destroy countless years of brand building and public goodwill.  Importantly, not all brands share the same concept of what is and what is not brand safe.

Also, it’s important to note that brand safety is distinguished from contextual targeting – in which a brand intentionally targets their ads for a specific and highly targeted type of content.  The advertising is designed to not just take the acceptability or “safeness” of the content relative to the brand, but to specifically target the ad’s content to the content of the web page, social media post or video, where the contextual targeting makes the ad particularly relevant to the audience.

MTS: What are the common challenges that come in the way of programmatic adoption?

Jeff Finn: Lack of effective data, tools, and processes to adequately target as well as to filter out unwanted bid requests. Advertisers want to target the right people, at the right time, on the right devices. There is an overwhelming amount of data available at their disposal to do so, but often times relying on this data either narrows the available traffic too much, or doesn’t do enough to adequately hone in on the right type of traffic and inventory. zvelo offers solutions to address both of these issues with our various Ad Fraud and Brand Safety offerings.

MTS: What is the correlation between bot traffic and ad fraud metrics? 

Jeff Finn: Not all bots are bad.  But all bad bots programmed to emulate humans surfing websites are a form of Ad Fraud. Ad Fraud includes bad bot traffic (Non-Human Traffic), but can also be Low Quality Traffic, Domain Spoofing, Ad Stacking and more.

MTS: Thank you, Jeff, for your insights. Hope to see you again at MTS.

Zvelo Will Help S4M to Filter out Ad Traffic from Bots
By partnering with zvelo’s IVT dataset, S4M can ensure that a media product or service employs valid, reliable, and effective audience measurements. The sophistication of the platform’s fraud detection capabilities is one of the many updates that S4M is addressing in order to meet the MRC’s strict annual audit process.


The IVT dataset has also equipped S4M with the ability to filter out ad traffic created by malicious bots and other non-human sources, enabling the ad tech company to recognize – and eliminate – wasteful spending on ads that do not reach prospective customers. The fully deployed IVT dataset has enabled S4M to filter non-human sources from its ad impressions and clicks, which the company discovered was about 4% of the total impressions.

Jeff added, “Any platform in the Ad Tech ecosystem that has insight into the IP addresses of their traffic (both on the buy and sell-side) could benefit from the IVT dataset by filtering out unwanted, non-human traffic from their impression opportunities.”

S4M has also been able to identify publishers delivering high percentages of bot traffic, allowing it to reallocate ad spend toward those publishers proven to supply higher quality traffic.

Partnership with Zvelo Guarantees True Ad Engagements for Intended Audiences

Christophe Collet
Christophe Collet, CEO of S4M

Christophe Collet, CEO of S4M said, “The insights and capabilities yielded by zvelo’s IVT dataset have proven invaluable to S4M, both in our day-to-day efforts to identify ad fraud in our campaigns and to uphold our commitment to our clients. Our technology is dedicated to staying ahead of fraud as it becomes increasingly sophisticated. This partnership with zvelo helps us to guarantee true ad engagements for our intended audiences.”

Jeff added, “S4M sets a powerful example, proving the accomplishments and accolades that an ad tech provider can achieve with accurate and detailed knowledge of who – or what – are truly the active sources within advertising data. We’re proud of the effective ways in which S4M has enlisted our IVT dataset to achieve success, and look forward to working alongside the company as it continues to grow.”

CLARIFICATION: Concerning the news originally issued on July 12th, 2017 announcing S4M’s partnership with zvelo, S4M seeks to clarify any misunderstandings regarding the Media Rating Council (MRC). zvelo has not been audited or accredited with the Media Rating Council. S4M’s technology undergoes an annual audit with the MRC in order to renew its accreditation.

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