Basics of Ad Fraud
Rahul Joshi | October 9, 2020
Ad Fraud is a term used frequently in the Digital Advertising world, usually to describe false or wrongful deployment of media by a Publisher or Platform. While the above statement is absolutely true, it is also incomplete. The concept of Ad Fraud encompasses much more and also has actionable implications on Digital Campaigns. It is in the Media Agency and Advertiser’s interest to understand the various types and components of Ad Fraud which can help in not only controlling wastage of impressions but also have a significant positive impact on ROI.
Sizmek by Amazon takes the concept of Brand Safety and Ad Fraud very seriously and aims at protecting the Advertiser and Media Agency’s interest by deploying robust and state of the art tools to control fraudulent practices. The key aim is to help Brands in controlling wasteful impressions and in turn, maximizing the value of every dollar spent on advertising.
Let’s begin with understanding the broad types of Ad Fraud, namely,
- Domain Fraud: The most common way of delivering fraudulent impressions happens at a Domain level. This malpractice happens in both Manual and Programmatic Media buys, wherein, a Platform tricks a Media buyer into thinking that their ad request is going to a premium inventory bid/channel, but actually goes to a website with the low-quality inventory. Domain fraud is also frequently used to mask insecure or unsafe sites.
- Bot Traffic and Malware: Bots is short for ‘Robots’, which entails computer-generated bots viewing ads and generating clicks or interactions on a particular webpage or ad unit. This results in impressions getting delivered but not seen by a real person and have a zero or negative impact on the Brand’s overall campaign performance
- Ad Stacking: Here, a Publisher or Platform may stack multiple ads on a single Ad Unit, which leads to only the top ad being viewable, while impressions being consumed for all the ads placed.
- Zero Ad Environments and Ghost Sites: These are areas designed by websites, primarily to consume impressions without the ad being actually shown to a user. The Agency/Advertiser ends up paying for the ads even though the ad is not actually seen by anyone.
- Location Fraud: Location Fraud happens when Advertisers pay for their ads to be shown in a specific Country/State/City, but a Platform/Publisher may load the ad in a wrong location and share false location data to match the advertiser’s requirement. This type of fraud works against the advertiser’s interest and results in a high wastage of impressions.
There are various ways to control Ad Fraud. Sizmek by Amazon’s Brand Safety and Viewability tools powered by Peer39 do the job brilliantly and also provide actionable insights in the form of Day-wise reports to the Advertiser/Agency so that immediate action can be taken to control fraudulent activities. Sizmek by Amazon can also help Brands in blocking platforms promoting Ad Fraud, thus ensuring, the Advertiser gets exactly what it is paying for.
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