Children’s Privacy Index for Mobile Advertising: The Child Audience Risk Measurement

Methodology for the monthly Children's Privacy Index - Sell Side Platforms & the "Child Audience Risk" metric

Pixalate’s Children’s Privacy Index for Sellers provides the first industry measure for likely child-directed impressions within various sellers across the programmatic ecosystem. 

With Pixalate’s AI backed child-directed assessment of over 5MM mobile apps in the Google Play and Apple App stores and unique access to over 2 trillion data points per month, Pixalate has measured the share of traffic (impressions) within likely child-directed mobile apps for each seller listed in our Seller Trust Index. The new measure within the index, Child Audience Risk, does not impact any of the other scores in the Seller Trust Index, nor does it impact a seller’s overall ranking. 

Children’s privacy is an important consideration for marketers, buyers, and sellers and thus Pixalate is making the Child Audience Risk for each seller open to the public, accessible on Pixalate’s monthly Children’s Privacy Index.


The Child Audience Risk is a comparative measure of the seller’s share of impressions (advertising traffic) which ran within likely child-directed apps. Pixalate aggregates data, noting which impressions run within apps that are likely child-directed (including mixed audience) vs. general audience apps. The percentage of impressions which ran in likely child-directed apps is calculated for each seller. Then, each seller is rated on a relative scale as a low, medium, high, or critical risk relative to their peers’ percentage of likely child-directed app impressions.

  • An app is assessed as likely child-directed according to Pixalate’s COPPA Audience Assessment methodology. Pixelate’s COPPA Audience Assessment methodology is covered in more detail here.

  • The data set is representative of the sellers that Pixalate has attained a statistically significant threshold of post-bid impression data. Pixalate maps 3rd party data to individual sellers. Similar to other Seller Trust metrics, Pixalate does not use 1st  party data for Child Audience Risk.

  • The Children’s Privacy Index for Sellers data set is representative of Pixalate’s global dataset, all programmatic data impressions regardless of geographic location in which those impressions were served. As this leverages Pixalate’s COPPA methodology, and COPPA is applicable to foreign online service operators if their services are directed to children in the U.S..

Results Scale:

The possible designations for a seller are low, medium, high, or critical.

Sellers with a highest comparative share of impressions (percentage of their total) within likely child-directed apps will be designated as “critical” risk.  

  • This is a relative assessment, a seller’s traffic percentage running within likely child-directed apps may reduce from one month to the next, but they may still remain at a higher risk than their peer group.

Note, that sellers for which Pixalate did not capture a high enough threshold of impression data will be marked N/A.

FAQs: Children's Privacy Index - Sellers (SSPs)

What is “Child Audience Risk” 

Child Audience Risk reports the percentage of a Seller’s ad impressions within likely child-directed (including mixed audience) apps as compared to their peers. Each seller is rated as low, medium, high, or critical based on their percentage of traffic vs. their peers’ percentage of traffic within likely child-directed apps (including mixed audience).

Does Child Audience Risk factor into the Seller Trust Index rank or impact a seller’s final score?

No, this new measure, Child Audience Risk, is independent of all other scores presented in Pixalate’s Seller Trust Index. 

What does low, medium, high, critical mean?

The possible designations for a seller are low, medium, high, or critical. Sellers with the least share of impressions within likely child-directed apps will be designated as “low” risk. Sellers with a highest comparative share of impressions (percentage of their total) within likely child-directed apps will be designated as “critical” risk. 

How do you determine an app is likely child-directed?

According to Pixalate’s COPPA methodology, which can be viewed here: 

Does the Child Audience Risk rating indicate a COPPA violation?

No. It indicates how much of a seller’s traffic (as seen by Pixalate) is likely child directed. Whether there is a COPPA violation depends on a number of other factors that Pixalate is not privy to. .

How often will this be updated? 

The Child Audience Risk will typically follow a monthly publication cadence. 

Who do we reach out to with questions about the Child Audience Risk?

Please contact or your Customer Success representative.

As a seller, how can we change our Child Audience Risk rating?

To be clear, Pixalate does not consider running ads in likely child-directed apps as a negative quality indicator for a seller. While COPPA does not prohibit advertising to children, the Rule does prohibit the collection of personal information (including cookies and other persistent identifiers) from children under 13 without verifiable parental consent (VPC). Accordingly, if a seller has not verified that child-directed  apps have obtained VPC to collect personal information from their users, then there is risk associated with running ads in those apps.

With that in mind, if a seller would like to reduce the amount of traffic going to likely child-directed apps, they can leverage the Media Ratings Terminal to find publishers/apps that Pixalate has assessed as likely child-directed (including mixed audience) and work with the apps and publishers directly to mitigate potential risks. 

  • Within Pixalate’s Analytics dashboard, a COPPA report provides a granular view of ad inventory to help identify which apps are assessed as likely child-directed and therefore contributing to the Child Audience Risk measure. Note that Analytics is a 1st party view of data, where the Child Audience Risk measure relies on 3rd party data mapped to each seller.


The content of this knowledge base article, and the Child Audience Risk index reflects Pixalate's opinions with respect to factors that Pixalate believes may be useful to the digital media industry. It is important to note, however, that a seller’s rating on the Child Audience Risk index does not mean that the seller is failing to comply with COPPA. Further, with respect to apps that appear to be child-directed and have characteristics that, in Pixalate’s opinion, may trigger related privacy obligations and/or risk, such assertions reflect Pixalate’s opinions (i.e., they are neither facts nor guarantees); and, although Pixalate’s methodologies used to render such opinions are derived from automated processing and at times coupled with human intervention, no assurances can be – or are – given by Pixalate with respect to the accuracy of any such opinions. Neither this article nor the Child Audience Risk index are intended to impugn the standing or reputation of any entity, person or app, but instead, to report findings and apparent trends.