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Digital advertising fraud is on the rise. According to projections by Juniper Research, the scope of digital advertising fraud will cost advertisers $100 billion by 2023.
What is digital advertising fraud? What information should you collect if you encounter it? Most importantly, how can you prevent digital ad fraud from affecting your online marketing campaigns?
Digital advertising fraud, or ad fraud, is the practice of viewing, clicking, converting, or generating false interactions with any web asset for the sole purpose of earning money—either directly or indirectly.
Such fraud can take many forms, including:
Detecting digital advertising fraud can be difficult. However, there are some warning signs that can help you spot ad fraud, such as:
If you think you’ve found fraud in your online ad campaigns, there are a few questions you’ll want to ask, such as:
Working off of inaccurate or unreliable data can be an enormous mistake. Establishing the accuracy of information is crucial to avoid making potentially costly errors that can damage relationships with legitimate advertising partners. So-called “gut instinct” is not a reliable indicator of fraud.
So, you will need to verify the accuracy and validity of the data that you’re basing your assessment of digital ad fraud on. For example, does something simply look like bot activity because a customer/lead data entry was accidentally cloned, or is the same data being entered by different IP addresses over and over?
Using data deduplication tools can be an important early step in verifying data accuracy. For example, HubSpot has a deduplication tool that can find duplicate contacts in your customer relationship management (CRM) software. Other tools like Dedupely can also help.
Being able to draw on a massive database of fraud signals and compare them to suspected fraud activity can be one way to ensure accuracy. This is something that the Anura ad fraud solution uses to verify ad fraud and eliminate false positives.
Having fraudulent leads in your sales funnel can be a massive waste of your time and resources. Bad leads who aren’t interested in your company’s products aren’t likely to close deals.
In fact, reaching out too frequently to fraudulent leads may result in penalties under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Under the TCPA, states have the authority to “bring a civil action on behalf of its residents to enjoin such calls, and actions to recover for actual monetary loss or receive $500 in damages for each violation, or both such actions.”
Because the penalty is on a “per violation” basis, if your company reached out to 1,000 leads by phone based on fraudulent contacts made by bots or human fraud farms, that could result in $500,000 in penalties. There is also a clause in the Act that allows a court to triple the penalty if they find it to be a “willful violation.” So, the penalty for those 1,000 violations could be as much as $1.5 million instead.
Being able to establish exactly how many leads are fraudulent and remove them from your contact list quickly can be invaluable for protecting your business. Using a real-time detection solution can help you spot fraudulent leads quickly so you can remove them before they become a TCPA compliance risk.
For many business owners and marketing team leads, this is the (possibly literally) million-dollar question: How much money has advertising fraud cost my business? First, it’s important to consider the following:
For example, if your ad spend budget was $100,000 for a given campaign and you experienced a 40% fraud rate, you would have lost $40,000 to fraud for that one campaign. This doesn’t include the lost time and labor from sales reps pursuing bad transactions and having to clean out your contact database, as well as potential costs from dealing with TCPA compliance issues.
Curious about how much ad fraud is costing you? Check out the Ad Fraud Calculator.
After investigating how much digital advertising fraud is costing your business, what should you do about it?
The first step is to cut off fraudulent affiliates with extremely high percentages of fraud as soon as possible. The sooner you can cut fraudsters off, the better. The next thing to do is identify the good affiliates and work with them to drive more traffic, since you know they have good quality and you need the volume to fulfill your client's budgets.
Finally, you need to put a system in place to surgically remove individual fraudulent transactions to keep your network clean.
If you want to put a stop to digital ad fraud, using a proven fraud solution can be an important first step.
For example, Anura’s ad fraud solution helps you:
Are you ready to transform the effectiveness of your digital advertising campaigns and eliminate fraud? Reach out to Anura today to get started.
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