Estimates suggest that by the end of this year, almost $19 billion will be wasted on digital ad fraud, up from last year’s $16.4 billion projection. So, what are we doing to stop it? Why, despite all the latest tools and techniques out there, can’t that number go down?
The Billion Dollar Ad Fraud Problem and How Brands Beat It
The problem is that committing ad fraud is simple. Anyone with the technical skills could easily write some code or build a bot that carries out nefarious tasks. And whenever someone rolls out a new solution, fraudsters quickly create a workaround, bringing everyone back to square one.
While more advertisers are finally waking up to the ad fraud reality, a lot of them still aren’t taking the proper steps on their side to curb it. Many advertisers continue to convert fraudulent traffic, completely unaware that those generated “leads” aren’t real people.
Of course, other parts of the digital advertising ecosystem are working to fix the fraud problem. Groups like TAG and the ANA do their best to raise awareness and advocate for industry transparency, but unfortunately, they can’t eliminate ad fraud on their own.
Most people would assume a multi-billion dollar problem would get the attention of the law. But ad fraud’s tricky nature makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to crack down on fraudulent activity. Big organizations like Interpol only get involved in cases if the damages exceed a certain monetary amount. To stay undetected, fraudsters merely shift their operations so they don’t cross that dollar threshold.
What Can Brands Do?
If brands want to protect their ad campaigns, then they need to take matters into their own hands instead of waiting for the rest of the industry to get its act together.
Brands should dive deep into their ad campaign data and analyze it for discrepancies, such as odd click patterns, abnormal conversions, or strange traffic sources. Automated analytics software could perform the bulk of this work, but it’s still good practice to have real people take a look, too.
There might be one metric fraudsters can’t beat: validated lead conversions. Before optimizing campaigns, brands should validate each lead first. Then, based on the validated data, they can adjust their campaigns accordingly. Sure, this process involves more work, but by connecting validated conversions to specific traffic sources, brands can then decide what’s working and what’s not.
There’s no easy answer to the ad fraud problem. But by proactively taking control of their own campaigns, brands can better protect their digital advertising assets. Learn more about how Anura can save you time and money with a seamlessly integrated ad fraud solution.