Overall, Integral Ad Science found that the share of inventory associated with risky content decreased between the third and fourth quarters of 2012, from 19.8% to 17.4%.
In the report, Integral noted, “In the third quarter, publishers carried the lowest proportion of high-risk inventory at 2.1%, while networks carried the highest at 5.1%. However, in the fourth quarter, publishers’ high-risk content increased to 3.6% and networks carried the lowest proportion of high-risk inventory at 3.2%, though they still carried the highest proportion during the two quarters combined.”
Looking at the specific categories of risk, Integral tracked the percentage of ads that showed up on illegal download sites, adult content sites, and sites with offensive language, drug or alcohol references, and hate speech. The specific categories fluctuated between the third and fourth quarters, based on whether publishers, exchanges, or networks served the ads.
Knoll addressed the sometimes large differences between Q3 and Q4: “A lot of it depends on the inventory that’s available at that time. It’s fairly irregular; there’s not really a regular pattern.”
Despite the constant changes, Integral and Knoll hope that the new TRAQ score can help marketers take a more active role in their advertising and media buys.
“Once we started to move to programmatic buying, the automation is focusing on the person or the audience,” Knoll said. “In that environment, where you are focusing purely on the person and where they are, those people may be on sites that you don’t want your brand associated it. It turns out to be a great dumping ground for bad inventory that someone can’t sell directly, but in a blind pool, they can get money for it.”