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How Industry Monopolies Are Affecting Ad Fraud

October 16, 2018

Industry monopolies are nothing new. From tech to entertainment, large companies snatch up other entities all of the time. AT&T snagging Time Warner, Disney buying Fox, and Amazon purchasing Whole Foods are just a sampling of industry juggernauts making big moves.

Anytime there’s an acquisition by a big name industry player, it leaves brands and consumers wondering what that ripple effect will be. Typically it’s a change to customer service, product quality, pricing, or perhaps all three. But those aren’t the only ripples the digital marketing industry should be concerned about. Here’s how monopolies are affecting the fight against ad fraud.   

They’re Making the Ecosystem More Complicated

When Ad Exchanges, Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), and Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) start getting gobbled up by the same companies, it makes the online advertising ecosystem more  complex. Soon everyone is “related” through a proverbial handshake in some fashion.  

On one hand, consolidation can be a good thing. It can bring everyone together to agree upon an ad fraud measurement industry standard, which is something the industry is sorely lacking.

Right now the definition of ad fraud varies greatly, and so do the metrics used to identify fraud.

One solution may count one second as sufficient for viewability, whereas another requires you to see 50% of an ad for it to count. Agreeing upon performance metrics and benchmarks and eliminating vanity metrics will help strengthen the fight against ad fraud.

Related Post: The Problem With Ad Fraud Solutions

However, consolidation puts decision-making in the hands of a few. And in an industry that already puts Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation on a pedestal, this is problematic. Just because a solution is MRC accredited doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better than one without accreditation. The IAB reports there is still a 30-40% data discrepancy between ad fraud solution providers. What are you really getting with your accreditation?

But if you’re a brand like AppNexus (who was purchased by AT&T), you may not have much choice in the ad fraud protection solution you use. In fact, if you’re a client of AppNexus, you won’t have a choice either. Under a majority rules scenario, brands and clients will have to go with what the big players use.

They’re Resulting in Customer Service and Integration Issues

During (and after) an acquisition, most mergers tend to overlook the customer experience. Consequently, it’s not uncommon for brands to experience a sharp decline in their customer service. With more clients to service, existing staff can be stretched too thin. Clients may  experience difficulty getting assistance from customer service reps. Worse yet, they may find themselves facing an increased risk for ad fraud. Here’s why:

Related Post: How Can Brands Help Solve the Million Dollar Ad Fraud Problem?

Let’s say you notice something weird with your campaigns. Your analytics are showing tons of traffic coming from a suspicious IP address. You call your vendor, but no reps are available to assist. Here, inadequate customer service is negatively impacting your ability to mitigate potential fraud in real-time.

Bad Customer Service

Source: Freepik

And subpar customer service isn’t the only issue. Companies who have different technologies may experience issues with integration, which can also make brands vulnerable to fraudsters. Inadequate infrastructure and security can result in outages, leaving intervals where there’s no protection at all.

While consolidations aren’t unusual, when they do happen, they have a ripple effect throughout the industry. Keeping an eye on the movers and shakers will help you anticipate changes that are coming down the road and better prepare you to adapt. By being well-prepared you can make the transition smoother and stay one step ahead of fraudsters.

Get a broader understanding of ad fraud in Anura's free resource, the Ad Fraud Detection eBook.