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Impact’s Andrea Añez, Director of Forensiq by Impact, asked Bold Screen Media’s CEO and Cofounder Dan Alexander and GM of Mobile User Acquisition Chris Catlow to shed some light on the role of third-party vendors to ensure transparency and fraud protection for their clients. 

Andrea: Thanks for sitting down with me today. Can you tell me a little bit about BoldScreen Media and your respective roles there? 

Dan: Thanks for having us! Bold Screen Media is a leader in the booming connected TV and mobile user acquisition business. Our mission is to help brands acquire high-value users at scale. As the CEO and Cofounder, my day-to-day is all about ensuring our team and our clients have the right tools, processes, and lines of communication to succeed. Our goal is to develop lifelong relationships across the board.

Chris: Thanks for having us as well. As the GM of our mobile user acquisition division, I focus on managing the business operations, delivery, account management, and analytics teams within Bold Screen Media. 

Andrea: Great! What’s different about working with BoldScreen Media than other digital media companies? 

Chris: Typically the majority of a brand’s user acquisition budgets are allocated to direct channels like Facebook, Google, SNAP, Tiktok, Apple Search ads, and so on. By running performance-based campaigns across Bold Screen Media’s mobile inventory, a brand can expand that reach in a low-risk way to target equally valuable incremental customers to round out their acquisition strategy.  

We focus on delivering quality at scale, which means we are actively involved in every aspect of each campaign. As a result, we act as an extension of a brand’s in-house team. 

Andrea: How did you learn about Forensiq and how are you using Forensiq today?

Dan: Forensiq is well known within digital media, and we specifically wanted to work with an MRC-accredited fraud detection service to augment Bold Protect, our three-pronged approach to fraud detection. We use Forensiq’s Ad Performance Suite and Verification Suite to track clicks and impressions and the Install Suite to analyze fraudulent mobile app installations.

Andrea: What has changed since the partnership with Forensiq? What do you expect in the future? 

Dan: We had been looking at some potential sources of fraudulent traffic or fraudulent patterns that we already suspected, but Forensiq provided us with the ability to be nearly 100% accurate. The validation of traffic sources from a trusted third party adds an additional level of trust and transparency, which is not only important as part of our company’s overall mission but also requested by the majority of our brand clients.

Andrea: It’s great to see more and more brands requesting additional transparency into their traffic. What are some other trends you’re seeing in the industry today? 

Chris: Brands are aware that fraud is a massive issue that continues to plague the internet. When brands shift budgets away from their normal set of inventory sources, they become more uncomfortable about their brand’s safety and want to ensure their paid events are actually coming from verified users, rather than bots. Bold Screen’s focus is to use Forensiq to give brands that extra level of transparency and comfort.

Andrea: Earlier this year, the IAB released app-ads.txt in an effort to deter fraud within apps (read our blog). What have you observed so far from its implementation?

Chris: The app-ads.txt release is only as good as its adoption rate. It took 6-12 months for buyers and sellers to adopt the desktop ads.txt, and we assume the same for app-ads.txt. We are starting to see some major programmatic buyers and DSPs require it, which is good. We hope to see CTV quickly follow. With proper implementation, app-ads.txt definitely creates an additional layer of transparency into the supply chain.

Andrea: What do you think are the barriers to adoption, if any?

Chris: The publishers ultimately have the choice as to which lines they want to adopt, from which buyers/servers. Some publishers can deploy the app-ads.txt code for buyers who are buying from them and for buyers who are not buying from them, which causes issues both ways. If buyers are solely using “app-ads.txt” as the reason to buy or not, additional steps are definitely needed. Additionally, publishers might not insert the app-ads.txt file for various reasons, so it’s not always 100% certain which buyers are directed to the end publisher.

Andrea: You mentioned CTV earlier, tell me a little bit about the emergence of CTV and why fraud is flourishing within the space?

Dan: CTV is a subset of OTT, of which both are growing at astronomically high rates. Whenever there is growth in digital, unfortunately it seems also comes fraud. The standard IVT vendors seem to be getting a better grasp of detecting and flagging fraud in CTV.

Andrea: What steps are you taking to ensure your CTV inventory is filtered for ad fraud?

Dan: The steps and reason codes are pretty similar to Mobile In-App. 

Andrea: What advice do you have for brands and media partners trying to tackle fraud in today’s digital ecosystem? 

Chris: Unfortunately fraud is an industry-wide problem, and you will never be 100% safe 100% of the time. We encourage brands to only work with partners that have a firm understanding of all the aspects and reason codes around fraud. It’s important to work with partners that offer full transparency, have internal best practices to fight fraud, and that leverage additional third-party sources, like Forensiq, to ensure safety.

About Forensiq:
Forensiq provides you with digital armor against fraud in-app and elsewhere. Our sophisticated detection methods—including machine-learning algorithms—identify and block fraud so that you can eliminate costly, ineffectual marketing spend and keep your ad inventory safe. 

Find out more by contacting a Forensiq growth technologist at sales@impact.com

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