How can the advertising industry use blockchain to reduce ad fraud? With VeraViews’s CMO, Elliot Hill

5 mins

With a career history including multiple roles in the fast-moving world of Web3 and crypto, ...

By Ed Steer

CEO & Founder

With a career history including multiple roles in the fast-moving world of Web3 and crypto, VeraViews CMO Elliot Hill is well placed to see the potential of blockchain in bringing transparency to digital advertising.

In our latest episode of Life in Digital, we spoke to Elliot about  the challenges facing the advertising industry as we move into Q2 2024, including the scourge of ad fraud and the promise of blockchain technology in tackling this increasingly costly and pervasive threat. 

Is blockchain the fix the ad ecosystem has been waiting for?

The biggest challenge as an industry is actually verifying who is part of the value chain,” says Elliot. He believes the existing ecosystem of digital advertising, which has expanded hugely in a short space of time, represents too tempting a target for bad players. Yet he says there are clear actions that could be taken to minimise the damage these criminals can cause.

A first necessary step to cleaning up the ecosystem would be the implementation of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money-Laundering (AML) procedures, such as those which already exist within financial institutions. I don't think implementing these would be an easy fix, but it would certainly be a start,” says Elliot.

The volume of transactions and amounts of money that are going through the digital advertising infrastructure require processes and technology which ensure their legitimacy, he adds.

Deeper levels of verification for businesses wishing to onboard to major ad networks would serve to protect those within the programmatic ecosystem - the publishers, brands, agencies and all the intermediaries in between. 

What lies in store for the tech this year and next?

The impact of third-party cookie deprecation - long promised, and now taking effect -  will shake up the status quo when it comes to who thrives and who struggles in the world of advertisers, Elliot suggests.

Smaller companies that maybe focus more heavily on first-party data will really grow this year and come to the fore,” says Elliot. “And the bigger incumbents will need to move fast or risk losing some market share to more dynamic players that are already prepared for a post-cookie world.”

The industry has necessarily been focused on work-arounds to key challenges such as the tracking of consumer habits, understanding user interests and monitoring conversion rates. Yet Elliot’s stance on ad fraud brings another, less commonly seen perspective on the sunsetting of third-party cookies.

“It will be interesting to see how the lack of cookies affects what we do from an invalid traffic prevention front. They can be very useful for identifying bad actors as well,” he points out.

Who is responsible for leading the way on eliminating ad fraud?

Tempting as it is to point fingers or allocate blame, Elliot feels strongly that the success of attempts to reduce fraudulent activity rests on cooperation and cohesion - the same principles that lie at the heart of Web3, and the technology underpinning VeraViews’ offering.

The entire ecosystem, the entire supply chain, needs to have a unified approach. I don't think that any one participant should be singled out,” says Elliot. “Rather than blame, it's a collaborative effort that would benefit everyone that's acting honestly in the advertising space.”

By working together, publishers, agencies, and brands could wield significant power to drive change. The fraudsters undermine ROI and disrupt and confuse efficiency and engagement  metrics. As such, united action against them would deliver improved revenues, reputational benefits and even support enhanced user experiences. 

Elliot and the team at VeraViews look forward to demonstrating the usefulness of their blockchain technology at their informal event at Cannes this summer, as well as encouraging the kind of community building needed to tackle ad fraud.

To find out more about what Elliot had to say on tackling ad fraud head on, as well as their plans for Cannes 2024, listen to the full story here.

You can find the full episode and more on our Life in Digital podcast. To find out more about how blockchain technology is already delivering transparency and driving down fraudulent practices, visit VeraViews.

Sphere Digital Recruitment 2022
Site by Venn