April 23, 2019 – 4 min read
The war on fraud across today’s heavily automated digital advertising market remains rife. Advertisers are faced with an ever-increasing number of vendors and intermediaries throughout the media buying and ad campaign process, making the chance of full transparency and visibility over exactly where the budget is being spent and ads are placed almost impossible.
This has clearly taken its toll on the industry as a whole, both ethically and financially, with fraudulent activity costing advertisers $19 billion last year alone.
One of the biggest drivers of the surge in industry malpractice is the growing number of networks and channels entering the programmatic ecosystem.
Fundamentally, fraudsters are just as agile and intelligent as the industry itself, and are able to flex their approach in order to capitalize on areas seeing the most investment from advertisers.
Following the Money
With fraudsters essentially following the money as it moves from platform to platform, it comes as no surprise that the rise of ads across the programmatic space, aided by the rise of mobile and in-app of late, has caused a huge shift in advertising spend.
So much so that today’s research suggests that the mobile advertising market alone will exceed $200 billion in 2019.
Due to the range of digital ad channels now provided by modern publishers, generating fake traffic for advertisers to invest in is becoming a haven for fraudsters and making it difficult for providers to install transparency within their network.
For advertisers and publishers alike, this murky ecosystem has become part and parcel of their daily operations. Yet, while they continue to suffer at the hands of these inherent ad fraud issues, many have already resigned themselves to the assumption that nothing can be done to eliminate them from the modern marketplace.
In reality, the industry is simply just not doing enough to actively combat those threatening the industry’s integrity and ultimately, take back control over digital ad processes once and for all.
Spotting the Patterns
Today, we should be trying to grow and adapt just like the fraudsters to make sure traffic is as clean as possible for both buyers and sellers, and ensure they are getting only the best quality in performance.
In the era of bots and click fraud, technology partners, brands and publishers must work together to introduce safeguards both at the root of the cause and at every later stage of the media trading process if they are to overcome ad fraud’s stronghold.
The ongoing proliferation of ad fraud is posing a clear threat to the integrity of the entire industry and the efforts that big players must make to combat it are clear to see. We need to do the best we can to limit the ratio of true and fake traffic.
The bigger the ratio between fraudulent activity and genuine impressions – real clicks and conversions – the more you impact ad investment.
With our dedicated in-house fraud team, Adcash first identifies fraudulent patterns – such as traffic from data centres – and with bot traffic being a major source of fraudulent activity, we have created specific bot traps to counteract these movements.
Furthermore, we search for anomalies in traffic, and use a scoring system to determine whether these impressions, clicks & conversions are genuine or not.
Last year alone, by blocking up top 27% of incoming ad requests, we helped advertisers to save $11.8 million – the differences in establishing these close relationships with advertisers and publishers can be stark.
While this can be seen as a reactive approach to dealing with fraud, in a continually evolving ad fraud environment, Adcash also takes proactive measures to ensure that these conducting in-house experiments which combine data and creativity to ensure that less fake traffic slips through the cracks.
Self-regulating to Survive
Digital advertising is particularly difficult to police, given the vast number of players operating across a host of networks, borders and platforms.
As a result, the advertising industry needs to take the first steps towards achieving a new level of control over the activity taking place across the marketplace.
In order to do so, self-regulation will have to become a high priority. Particularly for providers, who do not have anyone to report bad actors. They can only make adjustments in their own networks, and use this as a basis of safeguarding themselves.
This is where the introduction of sophisticated fraud filters prevails. In 2018, Adcash filtered out up to 2.15 billion impressions per month per month, and utilizing new technologies can provide reliable anti-fraud protections.
Through investing in their own team of experts rather than in a third-party, businesses can identify and understand the impact on profits and customers, and build the team around the problem – efficiently ousting it as a result.
The next phase of programmatic’s evolution looks set to bring a host of new channels, ad formats and a greater demand for visibility for all parties across the media buying platform – and current efforts will not suffice.
Bolstering their in-house knowledge of ad fraud by working closely with advertisers and publishers will aid network providers in their quest for clean traffic and enable them to deliver a seamless journey from initial ad spend to the return on well-placed ads in the digital age.
To conclude, we need industry-wide efforts to tackle ad fraud and actively embody these changes to infrastructure to help protect advertisers from fraudulent activity both now and in the future.
Read Mobidea’s ultimate Adcash review and find out more about this online advertising platform and why you should use this platform for your media buying activities.