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Pixalate’s Q1 2024 Global SupplyChain Object Verification Report for Mobile App Open Programmatic Advertising: 21% of ‘Complete’ SCOs Fail Verification; 49% of Failures Due to Unauthorized Sellers

Jun 28, 2024 11:00:00 AM

According to Pixalate’s latest open programmatic mobile app advertising Supply Path Optimization (SPO) research, invalid traffic (IVT), including ad fraud, was 53% higher on traffic that failed SCO verification, as measured by Pixalate; 21% of SCOs marked as ‘Complete’ fail verification, with 65% of failures due to unauthorized sellers

LONDON, June 28, 2024 -- Pixalatethe global market-leading ad fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform, today released the Q1 2024 Global SupplyChain Object (SCO) Verification Report for Open Programmatic Mobile App Advertising. Pixalate also released web and Connected TV (CTV) versions of the report.

The analysis contains insight from Pixalate’s OpenRTB SCO verification process, which examines open programmatic advertising SupplyChain Objects (SCO) across mobile app platforms and also measures its implications for Invalid Traffic (IVT, including ad fraud). The report contains breakdowns by geographic region, including North America, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Latin America (LATAM).

The SupplyChain Object enables buyers and intermediaries to view all parties selling or reselling open programmatic advertising inventory. Numerous partners are often involved in open programmatic supply paths, which causes fragmentation and makes the ecosystem vulnerable to ad fraud attacks. Pixalate's latest reports benchmark the state and accuracy of SCO data, providing greater transparency in managing risks within the programmatic supply chain.

In the context of this report, Pixalate utilized the following verification failure reason codes:

  • Unauthorized direct seller (65% of failures)
  • Unauthorized reseller (9% of failures)
  • No app-ads.txt file found (23% of failures)
  • Unable to resolve sellers.json (14% of failures)
  • Missing publisher node (5% of failures)

Key Findings

Failed Verification

      • 21% of mobile/tablet app traffic with an SCO marked as ‘complete’ failed verification

Regional breakdown

      • 15% of mobile app SCO traffic marked as ‘complete’ in North America failed verification
      • 13% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) marked as ‘complete’ failed verification
      • 21% in Asia-Pacific (APAC) marked as ‘complete’ failed verification
      • 16% in Latin America (LATAM) marked as ‘complete’ failed verification 

Unauthorized sellers

      • 65% of mobile app SCO marked as ‘complete’ verification failures were attributed to unauthorized sellers

Number of nodes and length of the supply chain

    • 23% of mobile app SCOs marked as ‘complete’ with 3 or more nodes failed Pixalate's SCO verification

One of the most surprising findings was that unauthorized sellers accounted for 77% of SCO verification failures on web traffic, 65% on mobile app traffic, and 63% on CTV traffic,” said Amit Shetty, Pixalate’s VP of Product. “This challenges the prevalent belief that digital advertising has been ‘secured’ by ads.txt and app-ads.txt, highlighting the need for stricter enforcement of the ads.txt and SCO verification checks.”

Pixalate’s analysis includes a set of SCO verification checks as defined by Pixalate, utilizing IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt and sellers.json standards, along with SCO data from the OpenRTB bid stream to evaluate the accuracy of declared supply paths in the ad bid stream. 

Pixalate's data science team analyzed over 25 billion open programmatic ad impressions containing the OpenRTB Supply Chain Object (SCO) during Q1 2024 to compile this research. The data science team analyzed more than 270k CTV and mobile apps, and over 950k web domains.

Download the complete Q1 2024 SupplyChain Object (SCO) Verification Reports:

Web Traffic    Mobile Apps    CTV Apps

About Pixalate

Pixalate is a global market-leading ad fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform. Pixalate works 24/7 to guard your reputation and grow your media value by offering the only system of coordinated solutions across display, app, video, and CTV for the detection and elimination of ad fraud. Pixalate is an MRC-accredited service for the detection and filtration of sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) across desktop and mobile web, mobile in-app, and CTV advertising. www.pixalate.com


The content of this press release, and the SupplyChain Object Validation Report (the “Report”), reflects Pixalate's opinions with respect to factors that Pixalate believes can be useful to the digital media industry. Pixalate's opinions are just that, opinions, which means that they are neither facts nor guarantees. Pixalate is sharing this data not to impugn the standing or reputation of any entity, person or app, but, instead, to report findings and trends pertaining to programmatic advertising activity across mobile apps in the time period studied. As used herein, and per the MRC, “'Invalid Traffic' (IVT) is defined generally as traffic that does not meet certain ad serving quality or completeness criteria, or otherwise does not represent legitimate ad traffic that should be included in measurement counts. Among the reasons why ad traffic may be deemed invalid is it is a result of non-human traffic (spiders, bots, etc.), or activity designed to produce fraudulent traffic.”

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