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4 min read

It’s Time to Face the Facts About Social Media Ad Fraud

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Even with the growing number of users on other platforms, Facebook maintains the top spot with nearly three billion monthly active users, as reported earlier this year. By Facebook’s own estimates, as many as 150 million of those users are fake.

If you’re one of those nearly three billion users, you should be aware of Facebook ad fraud and what you can do to protect yourself from scams on the platform. If you’re one of Facebook’s ten million advertisers, you know how to choose your audience, set your budget, create ads, and monitor performance. But fighting the fraudsters and the fake accounts requires more than marketing expertise; you’ll need a little help from your ad fraud detection friends.

Ad Spending Gets More Social

With so many social media users, and the relatively low cost to advertise, it’s easy to see why marketers are attracted to social media channels. The popularity isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Global social media ad spend is projected to reach $227 billion in 2024. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is expected to account for 64 percent of that spend.

Social media advertising isn’t just for consumer-related products and services. While overall B2B digital ad growth is expected to slow, more spending is expected to go toward social media channels, specifically LinkedIn and–you guessed it–Meta.
If you’re spending money on social media advertising in general, and on Meta platforms specifically, it’s important to protect your budget and your brand’s reputation by making sure your ads are shown to your target audience of real humans, not to fake accounts.

How Facebook Fights Fraud for Its Advertisers

Digital ad fraud is a problem across the board. We know that, on average, 25 percent of all paid digital ad traffic is fraudulent, and that includes ads on social media. Meta knows the problem exists, and since it relies on advertising revenue, they do take measures to ensure ad performance. They also remove fake accounts, but it’s an ongoing battle.

Meta does monitor for invalid activity, and advertisers can report suspicious click activity which they will not be charged for if they are found to be invalid. Detecting fraud after the fact may result in a refund, but wouldn’t it be better to not have the fraudulent clicks in the first place?

Hide Your Ads from Fraudsters and Fake Accounts

You’ve probably heard the phrase “you can run, but you can’t hide, ” meaning at some point, you have to face whatever it is you dread or fear most. When running ads on Facebook, most advertisers expect ad fraud and they dread what the performance reports will show: money spent on ad campaigns that didn’t generate the results they, and their management and sales team, expected.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to run your Facebook ads and hide them from fraudsters and fake accounts. You do this by making sure they don’t see your ads in the first place. By proactively identifying fake accounts and non-human traffic (aka, bots), you prevent them from seeing your ads. If they can’t see them, they can’t click on them.

When you prevent fraudsters from seeing and clicking on your ads, you’ll see better results: less wasted ad spend and increased campaign ROI. And you don’t waste time chasing refunds from Facebook.

Successful Media Finds Performance Marketing Success with Facebook and Anura

Successful Media’s clients rely on them to buy impressions, generate clicks (and leads), and acquire customers. Facebook is just one of the channels they use to successfully implement performance marketing campaigns on behalf of their clients.

When a new client required all new traffic to be run through Anura, Successful Media’s CEO Brett Kaufmann had some concerns about integration, false positives, and most importantly, response time. Those concerns were quickly addressed with Anura proving it was equipped to easily handle the amount of responses Successful Media was receiving, and in milliseconds.  Today, the company continues to work with Anura to protect all client campaigns from invalid traffic from all sources, including Facebook. Kaufmann says his clients are often surprised to learn that much of the traffic, and therefore many of the leads, that they had been getting from their ads on Facebook and other popular channels turned out to be fraudulent.

Download the Successful Media case study to learn how Anura helps deliver results for their clients.

How Can You Protect Your Social and Search Campaigns?

Facebook is certainly not the only source of invalid traffic and ad fraud, but because of its popularity, it is one of the biggest. If you’re running ads on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’re on other social media channels as well as advertising on search engines (PPC).

Anura’s Search and Social Protect is an ad fraud detection solution designed specifically to fight bots and fake accounts on the most-used social channels including Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, X (formerly known as Twitter), and LinkedIn, as well as Google and Microsoft (Bing) search engines.  

Using advanced algorithms and real-time analysis, Anura’s Search and Social Protect detects fraudulent users on search engines and social media platforms. Then it hides your ads from them so these fraudsters can’t take any action. This helps to reduce wasted ad spend and increase your campaigns’ ROI.

While social media will remain a popular choice for advertisers for the foreseen future, changes may be in the works. European regulators have ruled that Meta can no longer require users to opt in to personalized ads on Facebook and Instagram. Meta counts on ad revenue to keep the platform free for users. Without the ability to target ads using users’ data, Facebook and Instagram will likely see a drop in ad revenue. To make up for the anticipated revenue loss, Meta is proposing an ad-free subscription tier. Will the regulators approve this? If so, can we expect to see ad-free subscription tiers in the U.S.? Will other social media channels follow Meta’s lead?

We don’t know the answers today, but as these channels continue to look for ways to generate revenue, we do know that fraudsters will be doing the same. And Anura’s customers know that we’ll be on top of it, applying the latest technology and our years of experience to protect their advertising budgets. And we can do the same for you.

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