A few weeks ago, I spoke with Richard Murphy, Senior Vice President at BPA Worldwide, about the growing demand for accountability in digital media, particularly as it relates to online brand safety and digital ad fraud.
The abbreviated interview was posted on our blog. The full text of our conversation is below.
How has BPA’s business model evolved as healthcare trends move towards digital?
It’s not just healthcare that’s trending toward digital; all media is trending toward digital. As a result, we’ve seen increased demand for digital media accountability. To answer this call, in 2013, we launched a new division at BPA called iCompli: Technology Assurance. This division specializes in providing third-party assurance services in the ad tech space. We are authorized assurance providers for:
- The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), including impression measurement, click measurement, digital video, mobile app, mobile web, rich internet, data and viewable impressions.
- The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), including inventory quality, anti-fraud, anti-malware, and anti-piracy programs.
- The European Digital Advertising Alliance’s (EDAA) Trust Seal program for online behavioral advertising (OBA) compliance.
- The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) for brand safety and anti-fraud.
Our clients include consumer facing brands, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, and behind-the-scenes technology platforms that power the online advertising ecosystem, including AppNexus, OpenX, Sovrn, Bombora, and Forensiq. We have developed deep knowledge in the ad tech space.
How is BPA addressing online brand safety issues to ensure its reputation?
BPA works with the leading industry bodies to develop and maintain online brand safety guidance. Industry best practices include comprehensive contracts and agreements that explicitly protect the company from brand risk entities; rigorous partner vetting; white lists (that is, lists of known and trusted partners); black lists (lists of high risk sources and traffic); and third-party content verification tools. We audit many technology platforms to ensure compliance with these guidelines and we require all our digital partners to follow them as well.
How is BPA tackling the increasing ad fraud problem, and what implications does it have on healthcare marketing campaigns across multiple platforms?
On the digital side, the Media Rating Council (MRC) Invalid Traffic Detection and Filtration Guidelines have become increasingly important. The guidelines include internal control requirements, organizational and functional requirements, specific invalid detection tasks (such as list, parameter, and activity-based filtering), required disclosures, and reporting.
No one has been able to eliminate fraud, but companies that implement these guidelines are seeing significant reductions in invalid traffic. MRC Invalid Traffic Detection and Filtration controls are included in all our system certifications. These guidelines apply equally to healthcare and non-healthcare digital media investments.
On the print side, the industry has a well-established, and broadly accepted, audit process for print media. Therefore, the fraud risk is quite low if buyers use audited print media.
How does BPA provide solutions as transparency becomes critical in digital advertising?
The loudest call for transparency has come in the area of fees. For the time being, BPA has opted not to engage in Ad Agency audits. However, BPA has been instrumental in providing companies with a platform to prove to their customers that they are adhering to industry accepted standards, guidelines, and best practices.
Whether it’s impression measurement, anti-fraud controls, inventory quality, brand safety, or online behavior advertising compliance, companies use BPA to prove their performance. The industry is moving toward third-party measurement and assurance. Buyers are no longer satisfied with unsupported and unverified claims.
As more information is shared online, there are more opportunities for breaches in security. What is BPA doing to ensure secure data transparency?
BPA is not a data security company. However, by helping our clients adhere to leading industry standards (such as IAB, TAG, and JICWEBS), we can help them reduce their exposure to future breaches in security. We do participate in, and help companies achieve, their Privacy Shield designation. Privacy Shield principles include Notice, Choice, Accountability, Security, Data Integrity and Purpose Limitation, Access, and Recourse, Enforcement, and Liability. Of course, we all have our eyes on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how that will impact BPA and our customers.
Richard Murphy is Senior Vice President, BPA Media and General Manager, iCompli – Technology Assurance. Richard leads BPA's Technology Assurance division, iCompli, specializing in Technology Auditing, Data Security and Privacy, Governance, Risk and Compliance. In addition, he manages BPA’s global operations, including the company’s U.S., Canada, EMEA, and China/Asia Pacific divisions. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).