Mobile Advertising

SCO Verification Report Q2 2023: Pixalate & Basis Technologies

Analysis of the OpenRTB Supply Chain Object (SCO) finds that 19% of open programmatic ad traffic contains misrepresented supply paths

Pixalate, the market-leading privacy, compliance, and fraud protection analytics platform for Connected TV (CTV) and Mobile Advertising, today released the Q2 2023 Supply Chain Object Verification Report. The analysis contains insights from Pixalate’s OpenRTB SCO validation process, which examines supply paths across CTV, mobile apps, desktop, and mobile web, and measures Invalid Traffic (IVT) rates, inclusive of ad fraud, across all the supply paths analyzed.

Pixalate’s SCO validation process evaluates whether the supply path legitimately originated from a publisher and whether that publisher has a direct relationship with the first seller in the supply chain. Pixalate utilizes IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt and sellers.json standards, along with SCO data from the OpenRTB bid stream, to perform this validation.

Key Findings:

  • 65% higher IVT rate in supply paths inaccurately marked as “complete”.
  • 19% of traffic with a Supply Chain Object (SCO) did not pass Pixalate’s SCO validation.
  • 71% of traffic with SCO had unique paths, while 7% of traffic had 3 or more redundant paths, showing opportunities for optimization.
  • 26% of SCOs with 3 nodes fail validation, while shorter chains are more likely to be marked as “incomplete” in Q2 2023.

“As Pixalate’s Supply Chain Verification Report substantiates, the transparency that the SCO can achieve is of great value to the programmatic ecosystem. Supply path optimization (SPO), or the process of evaluating supply chain object, at its core, supports mutually beneficial auction dynamics,” said Chris Hallenbeck, Senior Director, Marketplace Quality at OpenX. “Where there’s lack of transparency, there’s a greater propensity for fraud and a greater likelihood of invalid traffic. This is why partnering with SSPs that have an established track record of championing a fair and transparent value carries so much benefit. ”

“As per our supply quality policy, sellers who we believe are intentionally misrepresenting or withholding supply chain information, or repeatedly fail to maintain accurate records are banned. Our approach is based on the hypothesis that lack of transparency only benefits the bad actors,” said Ayse Pamuk, Manager, Platform Operations at Basis Technologies. “The findings in Pixalate’s Report indicating elevated IVT rates on supply paths that are either marked incomplete or inaccurately represented as complete confirms our hypothesis.”

“IAB Tech Lab’s suite of transparency initiatives including SCO, ads.txt, sellers.json have given the advertising industry the tools to understand the complex supply chains currently in the industry,” said Amit Shetty, VP of Product, at Pixalate. “Pixalate has taken advantage of this transparency to truly understand the quality of the supply chain, including rooting out likely weak links in the chain.”

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