Digital ads that met the standards set by the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) witnessed 84% less fraud and invalid traffic in the first seven months of 2018, according to a new report from the advertising industry safety body.

TAG commissioned The 614 Group, a digital advertising consultancy, to conduct a benchmarking study based on 75 billion ad impressions served by five leading agency holding companies between January and the beginning of August.

They involved campaigns executed by Omnicom’s Annalect, GroupM, Horizon Media, IPG Mediabrands and Publicis Media – while the research included display and video impressions across desktop, mobile web and in-app channels.

All the impressions were delivered via TAG-certified channels, in which multiple entities involved in the transactions – such as the media agency, buy-side platform, sell-side platform or publisher – had been awarded TAG's Certified Against Fraud seal.

To date, 109 companies around the world have achieved TAG's Certified Against Fraud seal – more than double the 49 who had earned the seal in December 2017.

The 614 Group research, which for the first time measured Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT), found the overall fraud rate hit 10.43%, but this dropped to 1.68% of ads that used channels certified by TAG. The result equated to an 84% decline when compared with the wider industry average.

This was almost exactly the same reduction in fraud (83%) as revealed in a smaller study The 614 Group carried out for TAG in 2017.

“There’s a saying in the technology industry that once can be lucky, but twice means you’re good,” said Mike Zaneis, CEO of TAG.

“By reducing fraud rates in TAG-certified channels to less than 2% for the second year in a row, TAG’s Certified Against Fraud programme has firmly established the success of its model to reduce invalid traffic and stop the flow of money to the criminals who profit from it,” he added.

For more about TAG’s initiative and what advertisers can gain from its suite of anti-fraud tools, read WARC’s in-depth report: TAG’s tips for tackling ad fraud.

Sourced from TAG, additional content by WARC staff