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2 min read

What Are the Most Common Programmatic Ad Fraud Methods?

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With more marketers turning to programmatic advertising every day, it's an increasingly appealing target for fraudsters, whose devious technical tactics cost companies billions in wasted ad spend.

When it comes to the ad exchanges where the fraud occurs, there’s quite a variance in how bad the problem is. Typical exchanges are seeing fraud rates of 25–50 percent.

Because it’s so easy for anyone to join the programmatic ecosystem, bad actors can easily enter and poison it with fraudulent activity. Some of the most common tactics they use include hidden ads, click spamming, and click injection. Let’s examine each one closer so you can take steps to stop it.

The Common Ways Fraudsters Commit Programmatic Ad Fraud

Even before fraudsters enter the equation, advertisers face challenges with programmatic ad campaigns. For starters, fake transparency on the part of ad networks makes it hard to verify data quality. Next, the overly complicated nature of the programmatic ecosystem contributes to a general lack of understanding regarding how fraud can occur.

Once companies get past these challenges, fighting fraud becomes the central focus. So what methods do fraudsters use to commit programmatic ad fraud?

Hidden Ads

One sneaky strategy that fraudsters use on programmatic ad campaigns is hidden ads. This can be executed in a couple of different ways: “ad stacking” and “impression stacking.” Essentially, this means placing ads over other ads, creating a stack of them that each pay the fraudsters when “viewed.” However, only the ad at the top of the stack is seen.

Click Spamming

Spamming with clicks is how fraudsters attempt to capture the final click before an organic installation, earning them ad revenue. The bad actor gets the credit, even though the user installed on their own accord.

Click Injection

Click injection is sort of like click spamming, only concentrated. When a user begins an app installation, the fraudster’s code delivers a rapid injection of clicks to earn conversion credit for the install before it finishes downloading and finalizing installation.

So with so many sneaky ways that are designed to go undetected, how can companies who use programmatic advertising protect their ad budgets?

Make It Harder for Cybercriminals to Commit Ad Fraud

What can you do to prevent fraudsters from succeeding? Many advertisers attempt to rely solely on the fraud prevention tools from their mobile measurement partner (MMP) . But these aren’t capable of automatically detecting and blacklisting unscrupulous publishers from their campaigns.

To solve the misattribution problem, companies need solutions that can detect programmatic ad fraud and block the bad actors in real time. By using solutions that leverage machine learning, it’s possible to get far more effective detection and blocking.

Why You Need an Ad Fraud Solution

Being careful about where your campaigns run is crucial, but so is finding a solution that continually analyzes quality and performance. That’s why Anura’s solution analyzes programmatic ads in real time to detect and prevent ad fraud.

With Anura, you’ll enjoy deeper insight into your programmatic ad campaigns than ever before. Start seeing huge savings and better conversion rates on your programmatic ad spend with a free trial today.

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