Jan 28 2016
Basis Technologies

Centro DSP Spotlight: Combat Low-Quality Sites With Blocklists


When managing programmatic RTB campaigns, maintaining a high standard of inventory quality is a crucial task. If left unaddressed, low-quality sites make performance optimization futile, as they poison the effectiveness of your campaigns from the outset.

To combat low-quality sites, it’s recommended you vigilantly monitor fraud. You can automatically do this with 3rd party fraud detection technology, which looks for blatant signs of fraud (e.g., ads with zero chance of ever being seen, or impressions coming from suspicious IP addresses). Centro DSP, for example, has real-time fraud technology baked-in from Pixalate.

But oftentimes a human touch is also needed. When looking through your media reports, look for unknown publishers and investigate them, since they could be sources of low-value inventory. Also, when reviewing your performance reports, look for indicators, such as unexpected spikes in CTR or other proxy metrics. Oftentimes a CTR above 1% is good reason to be suspicious, especially in an industry where the average is below 0.1%.

Surge CTRs like this often come from bot traffic. Further investigation generally shows the time each of these impressions spends on the site is very short – as little as a second or less. This is another good indicator that your CTR spike may be fraudulent.

If you find sites and publishers that look suspicious or contribute to low quality, add them to a block list. As shown in the screenshot below, a block list is a line-delimited list of domains you want to explicitly exclude from your campaigns, ensuring your ads don't get served on them. Block lists are something you create and maintain over time.

An actively managed block list is a great way to block sites that may jeopardize your campaign. So keeping an updated block list is not only an important practice, but also a competitive advantage.

But there are downsides to managing block lists, too. It’s a highly manual operation, it’s inherently reactive, and in the end, block lists aren’t totally foolproof. Regardless, the pros far outweigh the cons and block lists should be used as an important measure of safety for your campaigns.

To learn more about Centro DSP and request a demo, click here.