General background information on digital audio ad-serving
The majority of DAX inventory uses server-side ad insertion into curated audio content from specific publishers.
This means that whatever device is being used to listen to the audio, there is no differentiation between content and ads. All the ad tracking events are triggered by the server at the point the commercial audio content is sent to the listener’s device.
Even if a link to the audio content is put on a 3rd party web site (such as a radio station stream directory service), the ad is inserted into the brand safe, known audio content and the ad impression tracking is still being triggered by the server.
Factors that mitigate risk of ad fraud in digital audio
DAX does not operate an open marketplace. All publishers and advertisers are known to DAX. So, a programmatic buyer uses only their specific DAX Deal ID, and is not vulnerable to spoofing of bid requests.
The majority of DAX inventory is mid-roll. This means that ads are delivered at defined points within streams of content rather than as they are initiated.
For example, this might be a three-minute ad break every twenty minutes within a radio stream, or after six songs have been listened to on a music streaming service.
The nature of this inventory makes it less susceptible to ad fraud. Triggering fraudulent impressions would require continuous downloading of a long duration of audio. This would be extremely data intensive, and therefore costly, for the fraudster.
The higher cost of delivering fraudulent impressions, combined with the lower CPMs in digital audio, (in comparison to video), make it a less economically viable and attractive proposition to fraudsters.
Where client-side DAX integration is supported for a few publishers, the integration has specific requirements for passing targeting parameters to allow the ads to be linked to specific types of content hosted by those publishers.
Process for investigating suspected fraud
DAX actively scrutinises publisher inventory for suspicious patterns, as follows:
The DAX Ad Ops, Supply and Programmatic teams monitor available data (SSP, Ad Server, Inventory Management System) and will flag up any unusual shifts or patterns.
As well as impressions, Listen Through Rate is monitored for campaigns (similar to view through rate for video) and these figures would show any anomalies from specific publishers.
Publisher inventory is reviewed by a group including Supply, Ad Ops, Sales and Management on a weekly basis.
Should the daily stats show anything that warrants further investigation, the DAX ad tech team are able to look at the inventory in more detail to isolate any areas of concern:
Time of day
Geographic area (e.g Camden, Westminster)
The DAX team would then discuss this analysis with the publisher in order to understand the factors driving their listening changes at a granular level.
If, following investigation, DAX were to suspect a publisher of fraudulent activity we have the ability to block them whilst the issues are resolved, or remove them from the exchange.