It’s that time of year again. No, we’re not talking about pumpkin spice everything; we’re talking about budget planning season when marketers often try to figure out how to do more with less. While the process is always challenging, there is good news this year: ad spending is expected to grow by more than eight percent, with it projected to top $1 trillion.
Whether you’re one of the lucky marketers looking at a budget increase or one of the many looking at a flat or reduced budget for 2024, you want to look for ways to protect your advertising budget to ensure you get the best results possible.
Advertising and Ad Fraud Trends to Watch in 2024
When there are major events, like the U.S. presidential election and the Olympics, we expect to see a surge in advertising. These help explain the “why” in increased ad spend in 2024; WARC’s Global Ad Spend Outlook 2023/24 explains the “where”—specifically, the advertising channels—more of the advertising dollars will go: social media, retail media, and connected TV (CTV).
While each of these channels can help you reach your target audience, they also come with risks, including ad fraud.
Social media is projected to be the fastest-growing advertising channel in 2024. Perhaps not surprisingly, Meta—which owns Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp—will get the most significant share of the social media ad spend in 2024. Unfortunately, social media continues to be rife with ad fraud, which can occur in several ways.
While Facebook can use artificial intelligence to find and delete fake accounts, there are still an estimated 142 million fake profiles, approximately 5% of active accounts on the platform. And an even higher percentage are found on Instagram, where one in 10 Instagram accounts are considered fake. By clicking on ads and skewing campaign analytics, fake profiles are just one of the types of bots that can lead to ad fraud and wasted ad spend on social media.
Retail media refers to digital ads placed on a retailer’s website or app. You’ve seen this if you’ve searched for a product on an online marketplace like Amazon, which dominates the retail media category, and noticed “Sponsored” appearing with an image of a product.
There is a lot of growth and opportunity in retail media, which helps account for its projected growth. With growth comes growing pains; one retail media network has developed a framework for standards around several areas in retail media, including brand safety and fraud.
83% of all U.S. households have a subscription streaming service. That alone could account for the projected growth in CTV ad spending. Combine this with writers’ and actors’ strikes and financial disputes between channels and carriers that leave networks off cable services for extended periods of time, and it's easy to see why CTV spending is on the rise. And, of course, as CTV advertising grows, so does the threat of CTV ad fraud.
How These and Other Advertising Trends Can Lead to Ad Fraud
As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. So, as advertising budgets bounce back and new channels gain in popularity, the risk of ad fraud remains.
Ad fraud on social media affects consumers and advertisers
The FTC has issued an order to social media and streaming platforms in an effort to reduce ads for sham products or that otherwise defraud consumers. Still, any resulting action won’t protect legitimate advertisers from fraud.
There is little direct financial incentive for fraudsters to engage in fraud on social media. So, why does it happen? Some may be paid to click on competitor ads, depleting those budgets and thus increasing the likelihood of the competition’s ads being displayed. “Hacktivists” may target ads from companies whose policies they disagree with; since 2024 is an election year, we can expect this to occur in spades in political advertising.
Retail media and CTV are susceptible to ad fraud for the same reason
Many, if not most, of these ads are placed via programmatic marketplaces, and we know that 40-50% of programmatic ad spend is lost to ad fraud. Some estimates suggest that close to 90% of CTV ads will be placed programmatically this year. While it seems a lower percentage of retail media ads are placed programmatically, for now, we should expect increased placement as demand and inventory grow.
CTV advertising is on the rise, but so is CTV ad fraud! Learn more about how this happens and how Anura can help you combat it.
When ad fraud results in lead fraud, call centers spend valuable time and effort chasing fake leads, while genuine leads may end up going to the competition. If this happens often enough, employees become demotivated and less effective in their sales efforts.
Brand reputations are at risk when ads are placed next to false information. Publishers with a lot of invalid traffic leading to fraudulent clicks will lose credibility with advertisers.
And then there’s the risk of TCPA violations and fines if the ad fraud leads to repeated calls to consumers who did not provide their contact information and consent to be contacted.
Consider Adding One More Line to Next Year’s Budget
If you want to make the most of your advertising dollars, consider adding the cost of ad fraud detection to next year’s budget. Not only can the right ad fraud partner detect and prevent invalid traffic from any channel, but it can also help you identify the channels generating the best traffic and leads so you can redirect and maximize your budget for more effective results.