How to tackle programmatic ad fraud?

14/09/2017
Marketers are increasingly relying on programmatic ads to push targeted marketing messages to an intended audience. These are proven to generate better results with better precision. With its increasing popularity, programmatic ad frauds have increased.

Marketers are increasingly relying on programmatic ads to push targeted marketing messages to an intended audience. These are proven to generate better results with better precision. However, its increasing popularity also means that the industry is now grappling with the massive losses that have arisen due to manipulation of the marketing metrics to track the efficacy of the ad campaigns. This is exactly what programmatic ad fraud denotes.

As per a Pixelate study, over one-third (35%) of programmatically driven ad impressions in the United States in first quarter 2017 were fraud. This shows how acute the problem has become, and not just in the US but across the globe.

What can be done?

Instead of being a mute spectator to ad frauds, smart marketers can ramp up their anti-fraud initiatives with these counter measures:

1. Choose your success metrics better

Basic metrics like CTR are very easy to track and analyse. Also, they are very easy to manipulate negatively. This issue is prevalent across devices like laptops, connected TVs, smartphones, and tablets. Instead, you need to rely on other metrics that are less prone to frauds. Some of these include:

– Site navigation

– Time spent on the site

– Sign up rate for a particular product or service

These measures show the level of engagement with the customers. And digital advertisers can be assured that it is not a bot that your site is interacting with.

2. Single out the main culprits

In today’s age, the advertiser relies on third-party paid sites to grow the user base, fulfil advertising minimums, and drive more impressions. You need to conduct routine checks on your vendors to ensure that the quality is as per what is stated in their report. These controls are crucial in eliminating frauds and cleaning up your campaign in an effective manner. One way to ensure that you are dealing with good quality vendors is to check if they are accredited by Media Rating Council.

3. Maintain, share, and assess from a blacklist    

Marketers today have the opportunity to know if the impressions they are tracking for programmatic ads are blacklisted or no. The underlying principle is that only a handful of sites deliver a majority of the fraudulent ad traffic.

See anything problematic with the URL www.huffigntonpost.com? If not, have a closer look as it is designed by fraudsters such that it is tough to unravel the fraud (the spelling is incorrect in the above URL). The good news is that today’s fraud tracking programs and tools analyse user behaviour to uncover fraudsters. So, while they may continue evolving their fraud strategies, they may leave behind a fingerprint. When you flag these, the blacklist will block these sites and thus provide you with a much cleaner inventory list to purchase.

With these steps, concrete actions can be taken to ensure that the occurrences of ad fraud and losses come down significantly. Do let us know if any other measure forms a part of your anti-fraud arsenal? We would love to hear from you.

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