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Ad Validation vs Ad Verification - What's the difference?

Written by Roy
Jan 3, 2023 • 4 min read
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Ad Validation
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Ad validation and ad verification are related but distinct processes used to ensure the accuracy and quality of online advertising campaigns.

This article is written for ad ops professionals and HTML5 designers. I'll explain the differences and show you how to validate ads using an online tool.

What is Ad Validation?

Ad validation refers to the process of evaluating the technical specifications of an ad to ensure that it meets the requirements set by the ad server or platform on which it will be served. It usually involves checking the file format, file size, ad dimensions and other technical characteristics to make sure that it is compatible with the publisher's ad server and will display correctly for the intended audience.

How to validate ads manually?

Here are the steps you can follow to validate ads manually:

  1. File size. Verify that the file size of the ad meets the requirements of the the publisher.
  2. Format and dimensions. Check that the ad is in the correct format (such as HTML5, JavaScript or Image) and that it has the correct dimensions.
  3. Code base. Check the ad's code to ensure that it is error-free and complies with industry standards. You can use tools like the W3C Markup Validation Service to check the HTML and CSS code for errors and issues.
  4. Compatibility. Test the ad's compatibility with different devices and browsers to ensure that it is able to display correctly on a wide range of platforms.
  5. Creative elements. Confirm that the ad's creative elements, such as images, videos, and text, are of high quality and meet the requirements of the publisher.
  6. Functionality. Test the ad's functionality to ensure that it is working correctly and is able to perform the desired actions (such as redirecting users to a landing page, playing a video, or displaying a form).

How to validate ads semi-automatically?

To validate ads in a semi-automated way using an online scanner, you can use these tools:

Ad tag validation using AdValify

How to validate ads using APIs?

To validate ads in a fully automated way, you can use these APIs:

The API returns a JSON response with 50+ ad validation metrics like CPU usage, initial load, dimensions and many more.

Ad tag validation using an API

What is Ad Verification?

Ad verification on the other hand, refers to the process of evaluating the content of an ad to ensure that it is accurate, appropriate, and compliant with industry standards and regulations. It typically involves checking the ad's content, targeting, and placement to ensure that it is not misleading or inappropriate. It also makes sure the ad is being served to the intended audience. Ad verification is commonly done by adding a verification tag from a third party vendor like MOAT or DoubleVerify.

Here are the main areas that ad verification vendors covers while protection your ads:

  1. Audience. It makes sure the ad is loaded in the intended geo locations, and not shown to bots. The latter is commonly used in ad fraud schemes were bots generate fake traffic while clicking on the ads.
  2. Brand safety. Advertisers generally want to have their ads shown on website that match their ethics and standards. To avoid brand reputation, ad verification vendors measure on which type of websites the ads are shown. They commonly use contextual classifiers to put each page in the correct basket. With this metric, advertisers can for example see if their ads are shown on websites that:
    • Support violence (or has a negavive context in general)
    • Contain adult content
    • Has content about weapons or drugs
  3. Viewability. Having all ads shown in areas on a page where nobody looks is a waste of budget. Ad verification vendors measure how many of the ad's pixels are exposed to use the user, and for how long.
  4. Fraudulent activity. Things like ad stacking, conversion manipulation, impression laundering, domain spoofing and click farms are all topics ad verification vendors will report on.

Well established name in the ad verification industry is Double Verify.

Conclusion

In summary, ad validation focuses on the technical aspects of an ad, while ad verification focuses on the content and targeting of the ad. Both processes are important for ensuring the effectiveness and quality of online ad campaigns. Online tools and scanners and used to verify and validate ads in an automated way, preventing human error while saving time.


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