Some ad fraud “solution” providers offer their customers the ability to personally configure their ad fraud settings. While this is often positioned as a benefit to give the customer greater control over their ad fraud solution, it actually causes more problems than it solves.
To actually detect fraud with any real accuracy, ad fraud solutions need expert configuration based on real fraud data. Considering that ad fraud costs the global economy $35 billion a year—and $11.4 billion in the U.S. alone (source: Statista)—it’s important to get your ad fraud detection right. Otherwise, fraudsters could slip through the cracks and steal from your ad budget.
What are the problems with manual fraud solution configuration? Why should you use an ad fraud detection solution with rules set up by an expert? Let’s talk about the issues with trying to configure your ad fraud solution in-house:
The Problems with Setting “Custom” Ad Fraud Solution Configurations
There are a few different problems that can arise from setting “custom” ad fraud solution configurations. The major issue is that if it’s fraud, it’s fraud. A lead gen fraud campaign using bots targeting a retail business will have the same warning signs as one targeting a ride-share company, equipment rental business, or any other organization putting out online ads.
It doesn’t make sense for two businesses to have entirely different rules for what constitutes fraud and what doesn’t. Some of the issues that can arise from having to manually set and manage your own ad fraud configuration include:
1. The Need for Extensive Ad Fraud Expertise
Ad fraud is an enormously complicated issue—one that requires more than a passing familiarity or the “best guess” of someone with no anti-fraud experience to reliably identify. Fraudsters often use incredibly sophisticated schemes to get past basic anti-fraud filters.
Manually setting ad fraud solution configurations based on one or two metrics just isn’t going to provide the depth of analysis needed to reliably detect fraud. For example, a common ad fraud detection metric is viewability.
What is viewability?
Basically, viewability is a measure of how much of the ad was viewable to the website visitor when it was clicked. While you might be able to assume that any clicks from sources that couldn’t “see” the ad (because it wasn’t displayed on the page at the time of the click), fraudsters have long since found ways around that issue. Despite being a vanity metric (i.e., a metric that only looks good on paper but doesn’t provide actionable data), viewability is commonly used in custom ad configuration tools to put the customer at ease.
Time on Page
Another metric that sounds good at first but fraudsters have figured out how to beat is time on page. A non-expert might assume that time on page is a good indicator of fraud. After all, it would take a human a few seconds to see the ad, think about it, and click on it while a bot could click on the ad before the page even finished loading.
However, clever fraudsters often use bots with randomized timers built into them. These bots might wait a few seconds before clicking on the ad—making them look more like real human traffic. Others bypass this by hiring human fraud farms to manually click on ads for them.
Experienced ad fraud specialists have a deeper understanding of how ad fraud works and can set better fraud detection rules that catch more fraud. They know which metrics are actually useful for verifying if traffic is genuine and which ones are simply vanity metrics that only provide the illusion of fraud detection.
2. False Positives
On the opposite end of the spectrum from missing fraud is the risk of flagging genuine traffic as fraud. This may happen if you set especially stringent fraud detection rules in your ad fraud solution.
False positives are extremely problematic because they mean leaving easy money on the table. When you flag a real lead who is interested in your products and services as being fake, you cut off a chance to turn that person into a customer. With no contact from your team, they’re more likely to go to a competitor for the same service.
3. Time Wasted on Rules Management
If your ad fraud solution provider isn’t managing the settings of your fraud detection solution, then you (or a member of your team) will have to do it. If you don’t have a dedicated internal fraud detection expert, this means that someone in your organization will have to take time away from their other work to manage the ad fraud solution.
This can detract from their productivity as they have to take time to review ad fraud reports, update rules to account for new fraud techniques, and deal with the stress of having to do tasks they never trained for.
4. Lack of Updates
Fraudsters are constantly revising their techniques and tools to get around anti-fraud strategies. To keep up with this ever-evolving threat, it’s important to frequently update your ad fraud configuration. However, when you don’t have a dedicated expert to do this, your settings might not get updated.
Partnering with a dedicated ad fraud solution provider that fully manages their solution’s configuration is crucial for keeping your solution up-to-date.
5. Lack of Accountability
Making the customer responsible for configuring ad fraud detection rules can be a way for some solution providers to avoid accountability. Basically, if the ad fraud “solution” doesn’t work, the vendor can just say, “well, it’s a problem with the way you set the detection rules.”
This lack of accountability allows the ad fraud solution vendor to weasel out of taking any responsibility for the failure of their product.
Why Real Ad Fraud Solutions Use Expert Configuration
So, what are the benefits of using an ad fraud solution that was configured by a team of experts leveraging years of experience in fraud detection (and a proverbial mountain of real-world data)?
Some of the benefits of using an expert configuration include:
Consistent Results.In fraud detection, consistency is key. It isn’t enough to coincidentally catch the occasional fraud attempt, you need to catch as much of it as possible. Professionally-configured fraud detection rules with frequent updates help to ensure consistent results—helping you catch more ad fraud.
Reduced False Positives.By using ad fraud solution configurations from a team of experts, you can reduce the risk of false positives versus relying on ones set by non-experts. This helps you avoid throwing away perfectly good leads.
Saved Time and Effort.By using an ad fraud expert to manage your fraud solution configuration, you can free up your own time and resources to focus on your core business and marketing efforts as needed.
Clear Reports on Fraud Activity.Parsing a large log of suspected fraud events, evaluating each one on a case-by-case basis, and assembling a report for your key stakeholders can be a challenging task. With a dedicated ad fraud solution provider, you can get organized reports that make it easier to understand the effects of fraud on your marketing campaigns and the ROI of your ad fraud solution.
Get a Truly Optimized Ad Fraud Solution Now!
Need help putting a stop to ad fraud? Get a truly optimized ad fraud solution from a dedicated team of experts!
Anura’s ad fraud solution is professionally configured by a team of experts with years of experience in identifying and fighting ad fraud across all industries. Our solution compares hundreds of data points about each visitor to positively identify fraud while eliminating false positives—helping you catch more fraud and increasing your marketing ROI.
Reach out to Anura today to get started!