How to Combat Digital Display Ad Fraud

How to Combat Digital Display Ad Fraud

Do you know how much of your digital display ad budget is actually going to fraudulent activities?

Based on recent data, the amount of ad traffic served to bots for your digital displayy ads could be as high as 23%. Digital display ad fraud is defined as the practice of falsifying traffic counts or activities using deceptive tactics and according to execs across the industry this type of fraud has exploded over the past several years.

digital display ad fraud traffic

According to data from September 2014, the following is a list of US online ad traffic served to bot by type of digital display advertising:

  • Video Ads: 23%
  • Retargeted Ads: 19%
  • Programmatic Display Ads: 17%
  • Display Ads: 11%

A new report by eMarketer based on interviews with execs across the industry, the following are some best practices to fight digital display ad fraud.

Be Transparent About Fraud Detection

Digital display sellers can ease buyer concerns and boost trust by being transparent about fraud detection practices, expectations and policies.

Proactively Police Owned Inventory in Ad Exchanges

According to Andrew Casale, president and CEO of Index Exchange, formerly known as Castle Media, “publishers aren’t often policing their identities and verifying that if they’re being sold in an exchange, they actually have inventory there, even though identity spoofing is a big problem.” It’s important to proactively and frequently run an inventory check for their own brands and domains to ensure no one is masquerading as them. To prevent fraud, publishers need to actively monitor their own domains and brands frequently.

Be Intelligent When Buying Traffic

In a December 2014 white paper, “The Bot Baseline: Fraud in Digital Advertising,” White Ops stated that 52% of all sourced traffic was made up of bots compared with just 11% for the general display category. While buying traffic, or traffic source, is a common practice among publishers who need additional eyeballs and revenues, it comes with high-risk. To reduce bot traffic, publishers need to carefully screen potential traffic suppliers.

Know Your Supply-Side Partners

Suppliers like exchanges and ad networks are facing increased scrutiny for turning a blind eye to fraud on their platforms. Given the propensity for falsified sites, it’s never been more important for sellers to properly vet and police downstream partners before and after their partnership. A major red flag to look for is the proliferation of falsified sites, particularly cookie-cutter sites such as a new site that appears on the list that looks and feels exactly as a recently blocked site.

Establish a Baseline for Ad Fraud

“Identifying your number is step one,” said Jonah Goodhart, a founder and CEO of Moat. While every seller is susceptible to some level of nonhuman traffic or ad fraud, it’s important to establish a baseline for digital displayfraud levels. According to Jonah Goodhart, “step two is understanding if the number fluctuates, because nonhuman traffic might be dramatically shifting on a day-to-day basis.” After identifying these spikes, publishers need to weed out those sources appropriately to reduce fraud levels.

While it may be impossible to reduce digital display fraud entirely at this point, there is no question that sellers and publishers can do a better job of weeding out bot traffic and fraudulent activity.

About Alan Moore: Alan started his career in 1999 as an Marketing Consultant and is the owner of Over the years, he has migrated his focus of expertise to everything digital. His mission is to help you increase your revenues and decrease unproductive advertising expenses through proven, online marketing strategies. He manages over $3,600,000 in yearly marketing budgets and has worked with local businesses, agencies and the US government. Give him a call to schedule a Free Online Marketing Consultation for your practice.

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