Ad quality is a hot topic for publishers. They want to make sure that if they are displaying ads to their users, that they are high quality and not annoying or malware. Checking mobile ad creatives in real time is not very realistic at this time and once an offending ad has been discovered it can be difficult to track it down without the proper information.

Many third party ad quality services allow a publisher or ad platform to send them the ad markup and they review it to make sure that it is not malware or using redirects. These services are very helpful in monitoring the quality of the ads, but they do not allow a publisher to block them in real time.

The ad is sent to the publisher and only after the fact are they notified that there was a problem with an ad. The publisher would then take steps to block this creative. It would be too time consuming for each ad to be checked in real time before sending it to the publisher and the ad response time would be unacceptable to users.

Most advertisers provide a creative Id, which is unique for each ad, and can be used to block the creative in the future. The challenge can be locating and identifying the creative ID. RTB provides a designated field in the bid response to pass in the creative ID, but it is an optional field so not all advertisers utilize it. Also, advertisers do not always have access to the creative Id if they are an exchange and the advertiser utilizing their platform does not pass it to them. Many other advertisers, not buying through RTB, will pass in the creative Id as a parameter in the impression or click tracking URL so it can be easily located and utilized.

Most advertisers and ad platforms have the ability to block ads at the creative level or even block the advertiser domain completely if identified. The challenge comes when a publisher does not know the creative ID. Some third party ad quality services or ad platforms surprising do not provide a useful summary for tracking down the offending ad. They will notify the publisher that they found an offending ad in a particular campaign and what the ad was but not provide much information beyond that. The publisher then must scramble to locate the ad and typically emails all of their demand partners asking them if the ad came from them. Without a creative Id this is a very difficult task and is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.

So the question becomes how intensively are advertisers checking their creatives and how successful is the process. The truth is most advertising platforms have such a large number of different ads running through their platform that it is not feasible for them to check and approve all of the ads. The process is much easier when the ad platform is hosting the assets but when the ads are coming from a third party tag the task can quickly become overwhelming and untenable.

Checking creatives is an important task, and as the mobile ad industry grows will become even more crucial, but there are challenges that must be addressed. First, advertisers need to make a concerted effort to always pass in a creative Id so publishers can quickly and easily identify the offending ads and get them blocked. Second, all ad quality services need to provide a detailed report about the offending ad with as much information (timestamp, creative id, advertiser domain, campaign, ad markup, etc.) as possible so publishers and advertisers can track down the ad. Lastly, since the offending ads cannot easily be identified and blocked in real time but typically only after they have been displayed, publishers need to be patient with their advertisers and work with them when they find an ad they need to block.