Rocket Fuel and IAS Study Finds Up to 70 Percent of In-Stream Video is Misrepresented In-Banner

RocketFuelRocket Fuel today announced the results of a study they carried out with verification specialist Integral Ad Science (IAS), which they say showed that within a particular set of video impressions, up to 70 percent labelled as ‘in-stream’ were actually misrepresented in-banner inventory.

Rocket Fuel say the study looked at more than 47 billion video impression opportunities that were categorised as in-stream by an exchange partner or publisher. They then used IAS data to determine whether those impressions were actually in-stream or not. They say the test was run on both desktop and mobile inventory, and also on private marketplace (PMP) inventory and Open Exchange to show a complete picture of the drivers of both high and low quality inventory.

“The industry needs a new video solution for brands,” said Randy Wootton, CEO of Rocket Fuel in a statement. “We are dealing with a highly non-transparent market where many other video platforms are unable to accurately distinguish an in-banner from an in-stream impression.”

Rocket Fuel also found that traditional strategies that advertisers typically rely on to improve video inventory quality may not be effective, including large player targeting and PMPs. Solutions like large player size targeting only brought in-banner rates down by 4 percent compared to the average, and PMP showed a higher than average in-banner rate (at the time of writing we are waiting to hear back on what the break down of those figures was).

Rocket Fuel say that now marketers and agencies can protect themselves from misrepresented in-banner inventory by using methods the industry has used to combat viewability and fraud, namely:

  • Independent 3rd party verification, to hold partners accountable.
  • Predictive targeting to limit mislabeled in-banner.
  • AI-based fraud detection, because fraud evolves and machine learning is one of the most efficient ways to identify suspicious impressions before bidding on them.

Rocket Fuel itself is no stranger to allegations around misrepresented inventory. In 2014 the Financial Times published a story about how Telemetry (now out of business) discovered that 57 percent of a sample of 365,000 impressions that Rocket Fuel bought for a Mercedes campaign were non-human. However, Rocket Fuel said the story was sensationalist and  Mercedes said that over the course of the campaign, the proportion of questionable impressions was less than 6 per cent, and that Rocket Fuel refunded them for the suspect impressions. At the time the carmaker added that it and its US advertising agency, Merkley & Partners, which is part of Omnicom Group, were to continue working with Rocket Fuel.


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