What is Ad Server Ad Verification?

What is Ad Server Ad verification?


After checking delivery reports briefly to see that the campaign started without a hitch, the next most important area for the trafficker to look into is Verification reporting. This area of ad server analytics allows  marketer to determine if they are getting what they paid for from the Publishers on the media plan.


Effective and Ineffective Impressions

Verification is a means of auditing the delivery of the ads. By consulting Verification and delivery reports early and often in campaign management, the wastage of ads can be minimised. Impressions which are not wasted are sometimes referred to as “effective impressions” while the wastage would be “ineffective impressions”.

Verification tools have only just started to appear integrated into the third party ad server. Up until 2012 the role of the Verification toolset has been played by smaller independent technology companies but separate tools mean a bigger headache for the setup of the campaign and a larger room for reporting discrepancies. Ad servers with integrated Verification mean that enabling Verification can be as little work for the trafficker as flicking a single switch. Having the data all in one interface and applied to a single and consistent definition of the impression metric means eradicating discrepancies between multiple systems if undertaking the alternative: trying to string data sets together between separate systems.

Verification asks a simple question “Is my campaign being delivered to the right audience?” Incredibly this is still a conundrum. It’s up to the Publishers to ensure the advert gets to the right eyeballs but being a third party, the ad server allows the Advertiser to verify the delivery independently. Verification tools started life seeing if ads were delivered into a “Brand safe” environment i.e. no adult content, violence or disaster news stories and now offer something wholly more attractive to Advertisers.

Reactive, Preventative and Pre-Emptive Verification

Verification is one of the hottest topics on the lips of Advertisers, Agencies and Regulators. Verification can spell trouble for Publishers who defy targeting and audience criteria and are out to make a fast buck by bending the truth about what they are selling to Advertisers. Verification is available to Advertisers and Agencies through three methods:

  • Reactive: as in detecting that the ad was served into an unsuitable environment and then reporting the fact in ad server reporting. Such reporting would be used to leverage conversations with Publishers for better targeting in future or remuneration.
  • Preventative: as in preserving the delivery of ads and creative messages from unsuitable Publisher pages by serving a public service ad instead. This is currently being called “Ad Blocking”.
  • Pre-emptive: as in verifying that an ad will be served on a suitable page and in a suitable spot before the inventory is even purchased (currently only available in the programmatic and RTB spaces).


Reactive Verification – Publisher and Placement Quality Indicators

Reactive verification works across a series of quality indicators. When these indicators mount up against an  individual placement or Publisher they might paint that placement in a negative light (in which case the trafficker should consider having the Publisher target away from the page, domain, geography or device in question) or in a positive light, in which case more impressions should be purchased against such a placement in future. In this way, verification begins to eradicate wastage as Advertisers and Agencies use their collected verification data to map out and benchmark the safest and most valuable placements in the Publisher ecosystem to match the needs of their brands and campaigns.

Different brands and campaigns will have different creative messages and different target audiences. This means that what might be considered a negative quality indicator for one brand may not be true for others. For instance, an ad delivered to a news site featured against a disaster news story featuring a plane crash may be dangerous for an airline Advertiser but might be seen as good opportunity for a particularly risque financial Advertiser selling life insurance. It is important for the Advertiser or Agency to make this consideration when analyzing verification reporting.

These quality indicators are:

  1. Contextual: which includes Content Classification, Audience verification and Brand Safety
  1. Discoverability: which includes Geographic and Device reporting, Viewability and Fraudulent tag Implementation
  1. Page Level: which includes Domain, subdomain and URL reporting and Whitelists and Blacklists

To find out more about ad verification in advertising technology across all digital channels and how reactive, preventative and pre-emptive methods are being applied (with clear diagrams), get a copy of: Ad Serving Technology – Understand the Marketing revelation that commercialized the Internet – available now from..

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