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Case Study

Randall-Reilly Cuts Ad Fraud and Improves Marketing ROI with Anura

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  • Recovered ad spend from traffic providers
  • Improved quality of service to their customers
  • Reduced their risk footprint
  • Proactively stopped ad fraud
Randall-Reilly Goals 
  • Prevent false positives
  • Get help dealing with fraudulent leads
  • Recovering wasted ad spend
About Randall-Reilly

Headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Randall-Reilly is a company that has served various American industries for over 80 years. When they were first founded, Randall-Reilly did publishing work that served the trucking industry. Then, they started helping companies even more directly by helping them with staffing for truck drivers, mechanics and other key personnel for a wide variety of industries.

Now Randall-Reilly provides data and analytics services to agriculture, construction and transportation businesses to resolve their biggest challenges and take advantage of key opportunities-helping to facilitate growth in a way that aligns with their customers' market needs.

“At the time, there was a lot of  discussion in that market segment that suggested there was a lot of fraud occurring.We, frankly, didn't know how much fraud there was on our websites.We were experiencing 'nominal' rates of conversions, contacts, and other metrics. We became concerned that there was all this talk in the business world and we didn't know how much fraud, if any, was occurring in relation to our form fills.” - Dennis Evanson
Discovering the Harsh truth about Ad Fraud 

At first, the Randall-Reilly team didn’t know much about ad fraud and just how pervasive it could be. We talked to Dennis Evanson, the Compliance Officer and QA Director for Randall-Reilly, and asked him what first got his company interested in getting an ad fraud solution.

“At the time, there was a lot of discussion in that market segment that suggested there was a lot of fraud occurring. We, frankly, didn’t know how much fraud there was on our websites. We were experiencing ‘normal’ rates of conversions, contacts, and other metrics. We became concerned that there was all this talk in the business world and we didn’t know how much fraud, if any, was occurring in relation to our form fills.” — Dennis Evanson

That’s one of the biggest issues with ad fraud—if you don’t know about it, it can be hard to identify. Modern fraudsters are incredibly sophisticated and use a variety of techniques to mask their fraud and make it look like nothing’s wrong so they can squeeze more money out of ad campaigns over a long period of time.

Investigating Their Ad Fraud Risk

Rather than passively assume that everything was okay and keep things the same, the Randall-Reilly team decided to proactively investigate the situation and verify whether they were being hit with ad fraud or if they were fine. At first , they dug into their Google Analytics and data from the ReCAPTHCHA tool they had- and their initial results weren't promising. Randall-Reilly had ReCAPTHCHA results that indicated ad fraud but, when they went to check on those flagged leads, several of them actually converted and got hired on Randall-Reilly's clients.

As Dennis put it "We were aware that it [the ReCAPTCHA tool] was there but we had no comfort from using it since we had these truck drivers that were hired despite having 'bad' ReCAPTCHA scores. The unreliability of the ReCAPTCHA tool caused concern about false positives and the potential business impacts of kicking out good leads because of faulty results.

"When you're first told that a quarter of your leads are created fraudulently you have a hard time believing it."

In the course of his investigation into the issue of ad fraud , Dennis encountered Rich Kahn, Anura's CEO, and the two got into a discussion about how Randall-Reilly could identify and eliminate ad fraud from its online marketing. The Randall-Reilly team decided to try out a demo of the Anura ad fraud solution and see what it could catch. Dennis said that "When we ran that test, our numbers came out to the mid-twenties or 20% of the leads were alleged to be fraudulently created. That was a bit shocking, actually."

"When you're first told that a quarter of your leads are created fraudulently you have a hard time believing it."

For any company, discovering that somewhere between a fifth and a quarter of ad spending is being wasted on fake leads can be a shock. This is especially concerning for companies that refer leads downstream to other customers since it directly impacts their reputation and ability to keep those customers. As a company that works in the data and analytics space, Randall-Reilly had solid tracking data about all of the leads that were flagged fraudulent. So, they traced each lead that Anura flagged as false while comparing it to their ReCaptcha results.

"Our top concern was false positives... We were able to follow leads that had been generated through the process of either working those leads on our own behalf or on behalf of clients to find out if any of the ones identified by Anura generated any downstream operational activity. We became quite satisfied that they were, in fact fraudulent leads." - Dennis Evanson

While it took some time, Randall-Reilly was able to verify that there weren't false positives in their ad fraud report from Anura- unlike what happened with their ReCAPTCHA analysis.

Putting Ad fraud analytics to work

It's one thing to know that there's ad fraud in your online marketing, it's another issue entirely to put that knowledge to effective use. This is where the Randall-Reilly team really excelled. With ad fraud data from Anura in hand, Dennis and the Randall-Reilly team were able to:

  • Recover Ad Spend from Traffic Providers. With the data from the Anura ad fraud solution, Randall-Reilly was able to recover credits from the traffic providers they were buying from.
  • Improve Quality of Service to Their Customers. As a data and analytics company, Randall-Reilly knows the old adage of "Garbage in Garbage out." By removing fraudulent leads from their data and not passing them on to their customers, Randall-Reilly was able to improve their quality of service.
  • Reduce Their Risk Footprint. As Dennis said in the interview, "Every bad lead represents a big risk footprint because of how fake leads affect downstream customers." For example, if a downstream customer tried to reach out to a bad lead, they'd be wasting call center agent labor increasing their TCPA violation risk, losing opportunities to follow up with good leads, and possibly experience brand reputation damage in addition to wasting money on bad leads. By removing fraudulent leads, Randall-Reilly also reduced their risk footprint and the risks faced by their customers.
  • Proactively Stop Ad Fraud. When Randall-Reilly first used Anura, they expressed an interest in a new feature that was just starting deployment called 'Search and Social Protect.' This feature hides your ads from fraudsters—helping proactively stop fraud.

When asked about the results they've generated from using Anura's ad fraud solutions, Dennis said that Randall-Reilly "Saved significant amounts in just the credits given by traffic providers for proven bad traffic Anura identified. This doesn't even include the value of improving our metrics with clients by not sending them silly leads that only get you in trouble if you try to contact them."

The Future of Randall- Reilly 

Randall-Reilly was able to take their rate of ad fraud and reduce it massively by using Anura’s ad fraud solution. Over the course of the last four years, Randall-Reilly and Anura have worked together to stop ad fraud from affecting their ad campaigns. Dennis noted that “when you start carving those bad leads out, the numbers change drastically… It’s very difficult for me to see a downside. I say that because we’ve been very satisfied with Anura’s solution and whatever magic sauce they have, it works.”

The Randall-Reilly team is focused on being a top-quality data and analytics provider and plan to make Anura a part of that. As Dennis put it: “Solutions like Anura are critical to how we distribute data and analytics to clients by supporting the validity of the data we pass on to our customers.” When asked what he would tell others thinking about working with Anura, here's what he had to say:

"Jump in with both feet! If you ignore the fraud that is being generated in your ads, you're only increasing your costs. If you want to minimize risk and reduce ad costs, you seriously need to consider a tool like Anura."
- Dennis Evanson