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The Real Truth About Ad Fraud, How It's Destroying Brands

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Ad fraud can derail a company’s digital campaigns before they even begin. As brands and companies take their products to market through a variety of channels, digital campaigns make up a greater percentage of the overall marketing efforts.

Digital campaigns make sense: marketers can speak directly to targeted audiences with efficiency and scale, all while gathering detailed analysis that informs those marketers of what is effective and what isn’t.

But ad fraud manipulates that data, skews analysis, and renders those campaigns inefficient at best and wholly ineffective at worst.

Ad fraud is the practice of viewing, clicking, converting or generating false interactions with any web asset for the sole purpose of earning money directly or indirectly. Fraudsters  – including bad bots, malware, and human actors – use a variety of methods to trick unsuspecting advertisers into doing business with them.

Traffic may appear to be legitimate, but those measurements are proven to be false once ad fraud solutions are employed.

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Ad Fraud Insights • Real Truth About Ad Fraud • Four Ways It Is Destroying Brands

1. Phony Numbers & False Leads

Marketers require the most up-to-date information to make the best decisions about how to effectively market their accounts and their brands. Certain tactics may be more or less effective than others and marketers need to know which campaigns to pause, refine, or scale up.

For some marketers, culling leads and potential customers is the most important metric to be gained from digital campaigns, and their accuracy has to be ensured in order for the campaign to be considered a success.

Digital campaigns that are the targets of ad fraud have suspect data which fails to accurately measure the success or failure of those campaigns. A variety of fraudulent techniques, such as lead generation fraud, in which bad actors click through forms to give a false or stolen lead information, skew vital metrics that marketers require to see accurately in order to promote their brands.

2. Wasted Campaign Spend

Every campaign requires an analysis of the return on the budget spent on digital campaigns. Theoretically, a digital campaign expects a certain return on investment, or ROI.

Ad fraud “waters down” the returns a marketer can expect to see from a digital campaign investment. While the overall campaign may be acceptable, ad fraud is eating into the returns. With the tight margins required of some of these campaigns at the outset, the success of a campaign is reduced.

Unknown to these marketers, they become accustom to this “watered down” return and continue to buy and support the efforts of these bad actors, at the expense of their return.

If enough of fraudulent traffic comes back, the dollars spent attracting an actual prospect, lead, or customer are ultimately wasted on a bots, malware or human fraud with no intention of using the company or brand’s services or products.

3. Lost Revenue Through Paybacks

Many marketers purchase site traffic for brands or accounts. This is done with the initial understanding that the traffic sent to those brands is full of viable potential customers. However, ad fraud undercuts those efforts.

Some estimates put 25 percent of all internet traffic as being fraudulent. Depending where the traffic is obtained from, this can be on the low end of total ad fraud in traffic.

Many agencies have to pay back the cost of purchasing traffic when it is deemed fraudulent. This means that not only has the marketer wasted the spend on the account, but they’re losing revenue by having to pay back the clients’ spend on ultimately bad traffic. This is a direct dent on revenue, which is the exact opposite of the purpose of digital campaigns.

4. Diminished Brand Reputation

As fraudulent traffic interacts with sites and manipulates campaigns, many brands begin to suffer from a tarnished reputation from consumers as a result. Many tactics employ the dissemination of false information, including using real customers’ information within forms.

In this scenario, a company may believe they have accurate contact information for a new potential customer or lead. In fact, a fraudster may have used the victim’s contact information for their own gain. Now, when the company contacts the false lead, the action is considered noncompliant under TCPA rules, and the false lead has a diminished view of the company or brand.

Loss of brand trust or equity can go beyond derailing a digital campaign. That loss can limit the market of potential customers for a company and, if unchecked, can prevent brands from growing and earning more revenue.

Anura: A Trusted Solution for Ad Fraud

Anura is an ad fraud solution that identifies fraudulent traffic, in black and white, allowing marketers to take action against ad fraud that could devastate a digital campaign. Once the product is in place, marketers can see with 100 percent accuracy which traffic is interacting with their campaigns and which traffic can be ignored and eliminated.

Signs like a substantial number of clicks without a conversion, strange traffic sources, and high bounce rates are just a few of the indicators that means ad fraud is affecting a digital campaign.