Anti-Malvertising Solutions: Creative Wrapping vs. Page-Level Protection

by Geoff Stupay, on Aug 13, 2020 10:30:00 AM

There are two primary methods that anti-malvertising solutions offer for integrating their tools onto your website: creative wrapping and a page-level script. Traditionally nearly all solutions required creative wrapping in order to provide protection against malvertisers.

Unfortunately creative wrapping requires significant effort, and has gaps in the ability to provide complete protection. Instead of accepting that “this is the way it has always been done,” the cleanAD engineering team set out to find a better solution.

And they succeeded! Our script provides complete page-level protection with the integration of a single line of javascript.

As of this writing, cleanAD is the only solution on the market that uses a page-level script to combat malvertisers instead of the traditional creative wrapping method. Learn more about how each type of integration works and the benefits that page-level protection offers.

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How Creative Wrapping Works

Creative wrapping works by creating a container around each ad unit on the webpage. See the diagram below for an example. Everywhere there is a space for an ad, a wrapper would have to be created. Within this wrapper is where the code for integrating your chosen anti-malveritisng solution would go.

creative wrapping example

This works in a similar way to putting a fence around each ad unit to provide protection for just that particular portion of the page.

On a particular page, your team will have to maintain an integration for each individual ad unit. Across your entire site, for each different page type you have, that can quickly multiply into hundreds of ad unit containers to keep track of and manage.

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How Page-Level Protection Works

By contrast a solution that offers page-level protection requires only the installation of a single line of javascript injected in the header of the website (meaning you only have to implement the integration in one place to cover every ad unit on your site). This script operates at the page level, rather than for each of the individual ad units.

Once the script is implemented, it protects everything on the page and not just single ad units.

Benefits of Page-Level Protection

Creative wrapping itself isn’t a true enterprise solution. It is a very manual effort that requires a lot of time and maintenance by your team. Explore some of the benefits page-level protection offers over creative wrapping below.

More Effective Protection

The most important benefit of a solution that offers page level protection is its effectiveness in catching and blocking malicious activity.

Take, for example, a boat that is sinking. Creative wrapping would be equivalent to selecting very specific holes in the boat to plug and attempt to stop the leaking. By contrast, page-level protection would be akin to wrapping the entire boat in a protective layer, thereby automatically plugging every existing leak and preventing problems from any future holes that may appear.

Implementing the cleanAD solution at the page-level means that you’ll catch any malicious activity, regardless of how it is executed, before your users ever feel the effects of it.

This means less chance for something to sneak past the protective tools you’ve employed and protection against attacks that you may not have even experienced in the past.

Easier Integration Process

Another key benefit of this type of solution is how much easier it is to get up and running. The integration process becomes as simple as installing one line of code, one time. That’s it.

With creative wrapping, your team has to build the wrappers and install the integration code for each and every different kind of ad unit you have across the site.

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Less Ongoing Management Effort

By the same reasoning, ongoing management becomes much easier as well. With creative wrapping solutions, you have to update your integrations every time you want to change the structure of your page or move ad units around.

Each time, you’ll have to manually go and set up, or update the integration for that ad unit. And, anytime you want to add a new ad unit, you’ll have to set up a new wrapper and integration.

With a page-level solution, you are free to update, change or add new ad units all with no change to the integration you have in place. As long as the script is on the page, anything you put on it is protected.

Most people don’t believe that it is really possible to have a solution that is “set it and forget it” when it comes to malvertising, because it has never really been possible in the past. But, by creating a script that offers page-level protection, it has become a reality.

You don’t have to take our word for it. Recently on Reddit, a user asked members of the adops group for feedback on their experience with cleanAD.

Here was one user’s feedback on how our platform works differently: testimonial

“you can actually set it and forget it, they actually do what they promise”

Infrastructure Agnostic

Another key benefit of a page-level solution is that it is 100% agnostic of your environment or tools. Depending upon what you use to manage your site or content, creative wrapping solutions will have to employ different integration methods, since they work deeply within the infrastructure of your site.

On the other hand, a single page-level javascript that doesn’t have to interact with your back-end management tools, means the integration process is always the same, and always simple. It also means, it is future proofed for any changes you may make before you even make them.

Final Thoughts

I know in life most things that seem too good to be true usually are. Which is why I understand how difficult it often is for publishers to believe how simple and easy an anti-malvertising solution can be. 

Historically, combating malvertising has always required effort and ongoing management, so accepting that a solution can truly be a set-it-and-forget-it reality is a tough sell. But I urge you not to let “that’s the way it’s always been” logic hold you back from a solution that can change the way you deal with malveritisng.

We promise, all it takes is 14 days to become a believer.

Try cleanAD free for 14-days to see why major publishers trust our platform as the simplest, smartest, and most effective anti-malvertising solution available.

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