How Less Can Be More Effective
It’s the most wonderful, and perhaps predictable, time of the year: time to reflect on what’s happened this past year, the lessons we’ve learned, what’s worked and what hasn’t, and turn our focus toward our goals for 2024. Yes, we’re talking about making your New Year’s resolutions.
The top resolution for lead generation is also the number one resolution for programmatic marketing and the ultimate resolution for digital advertising teams everywhere. It is the same goal for so many in business—find ways to cut back and accomplish more in order to improve your return on investment (ROI).
But what resolutions can actually help accomplish that? Considering the total cost and impact of ad fraud, one of the easiest ways for marketing professionals to maximize their digital ad budgets is to more effectively fight ad fraud, more on that later.
Juniper Research has projected that $84 billion will be lost to ad fraud this year, a staggering figure that’s expected to more than double to $178 billion by 2028. Obviously, there’s plenty of room for improvement, but where should marketers start? Given that as much as half of programmatic ad spend is lost to sophisticated fraud, that’s a logical place to start but a broad topic to tackle.
We’ve done the hard work for you, narrowing resolutions down to four in 2024 that can help reduce ad fraud. You can implement them all or focus on one or two that you can easily execute, measure, and stick with to help reach your ultimate goal of maximizing your ad budget.
Resolution #1 – Focus on Quality Over Quantity
The Association of National Advertisers released its full Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study earlier this month. It found the average campaign ran on 44,000 websites! Yet, 86 percent of all impressions for study participants came from just 3,000 websites, and well over half of those impressions came from the top 500 websites.
It’s oversimplifying to say marketers should redirect their ad dollars to include only their top 500 sites. But it’s not a big stretch to say approximately 40,000 sites generated revenue from ads that did little to nothing to contribute to the advertisers’ bottom line. Many of those were likely Made-for-Advertising (MFA) sites, which not only don’t drive optimal traffic to your site but can also put an advertiser’s brand reputation at risk if your ads get placed next to misinformation or inappropriate content.
Marketers can use standard reporting to determine the top-performing sites for their campaigns and add those to an “inclusion list” of top-performing websites and domains you trust and that are relevant to your target audience. The ANA suggests a good strategy is to allocate most of your programmatic spend to your inclusion list, with the rest directed to open programmatic. This combination allows you to discover other sites that may drive traffic so you can add them to your inclusion list, perhaps replacing sites that didn’t deliver as you expected.
Savvy digital marketers prioritize traffic quality. Here’s why.
Resolution #2 – Choose Your Partners Wisely
There are a lot of platforms in programmatic advertising. Advertisers, usually through their agencies, use demand-side platforms (DSPs) to connect to ad exchanges where they bid on ads; ad exchanges connect to supply-side platforms (SSPs), which publishers use to sell their ad inventory.
There are a number of providers for each role or platform. Since it’s impossible to work with all of them, this is another area where marketers should place quantity over quality, carefully choosing a handful or fewer of trusted platforms to ensure your ads are in front of your target audience across multiple channels, including mobile apps and CTV.
Some things to consider when selecting platforms and providers:
- How much and what kind of data is available from the SSP?
- Do they sell MFA inventory? Can MFA be excluded?
- Do they accept—and comply with—inclusion lists?
- What variety of features, such as ad verification and malware detection, are included to protect advertisers?
- How are they protecting advertisers from fraud?
- Are they TAG Certified Against Fraud or MRC-accredited?
Resolution #3 – Get Comfortable With Data
Many digital marketers may say they are data-driven, using and analyzing data to get to know their customers, thus better at targeting their ads and measuring marketing ROI campaign results. The fact is many marketers don’t know what they don’t know because not all partners in the programmatic chain have or provide detailed performance data.
Without sufficient data, marketers can’t make decisions that could improve the performance of their campaigns. Marketers need access to publishers’ log-level data, which includes information about the domain the ad was served on and data about who saw the ad, such as their geographic region. Because so much data is available, it’s worth talking to the publisher about what you hope to accomplish with the data—whether it’s to better understand your audience, your bid strategies, or something else—to ensure you get the data you need.
Of course, having the data you need is only helpful if marketers can use it. Unfortunately, many marketers express a lack of data confidence in both the quality of the data and their comfort level in interpreting and applying data insights. If this is the case in your organization, there are a number of courses available to improve your data literacy. Ask your partners to explain the data they are presenting, including how it is collected and what it indicates; over time, you will become more comfortable with the data quality, as well as any shortcomings, and feel more confident using it to make advertising decisions.
How Ad Fraud Detection Helps You Stick to Your Resolutions
Sticking to some resolutions will require more time and effort than others, but a strong ad fraud detection partner can help you get off to a great start on these programmatic marketing resolutions. While you’re focusing on quality by paring down the programmatic partners you will work with, your ad fraud detection partner will help drive quality traffic by detecting and stopping invalid traffic before it even gets to your landing page. For publishers, a solid ad fraud solution will ensure you’re stopping invalid traffic before it reaches your advertisers; this not only delivers better results for your advertisers, but it also protects your reputation as a trusted domain.
At Anura, we provide detailed reporting to help you identify which domains deliver the best results and which are not sending real human traffic. This information can help you build your inclusion list, and it may also help narrow down the best partnerships by revealing those partners that are falling short of helping you meet your goals.
We also provide trusted, transparent data on a user-friendly dashboard, giving you the information and insight you need to analyze traffic, improve your visitor quality, and develop a plan to stop invalid traffic in real time.
We are also proud to be one of a handful of ad fraud detection and prevention providers that is TAG Certified Against Fraud. This means we are committed to providing the highest level of fraud detection available.
Resolution #4: Repeat, Review, Revise
We know what you’re thinking: we promised four resolutions and only gave you three. So, here’s the fourth: repeat, review, revise. You can’t go to the gym once in January and expect to reach your fitness goals. The same is true for maximizing your digital ad campaigns. You need to consistently review your reporting to see how your campaigns are performing. ANA suggests updating your inclusion list monthly, adding sites that perform well in testing, and deleting those that are no longer delivering results.
You should also have ongoing conversations with your programmatic partners; if something isn’t working, ask for recommendations. Also, be aware that with so many platforms and providers, the industry is subject to mergers and acquisitions; if this happens with any of your partners, closely watch campaign performance and watch for any concerning signs. Review and revise your programmatic partner relationships, and always keep learning. The marketing industry, in general, and programmatic advertising, in particular, are constantly changing, and you need to be prepared to change as necessary.
Are you resolved to improve your programmatic advertising performance in 2024?
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