Ad Fraud: What It Is and How to Stop It

Over the past few years, ad fraud has become a blatant fact of online advertising. With growing opportunities to create programmatic ads, fraudulent ad clicks from bots are set to take an estimated $7.2 billion from advertisers in 2016, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

In addition to the obvious wasted money advertisers are losing, ad fraud also makes digital media less effective and paralyzes an advertiser’s ability to continue to create valuable and innovative ads.

In an AdWeek article, multiple advertising and marketing executives discussed the difficulties in combatting ad fraud.

While they agreed that advertisers, agencies and publishers all hold at least partial responsibility in tackling fraudulent ads, advertisers held the most responsibility because it was their money being lost.

Specifically, the executives said third-party verification and tracking ad buys can be the most successful tools in fighting ad fraud. Third-party verification ensures that humans, not bots, are seeing the ads. Ron Amram, vice president of Heineken USA, said constant tracking of ad buys could help an advertiser blacklist fraudulent webpages. Amram also said eradicating fraud begins with transparency between publishers and advertisers.

“In order to really take this to the next level and allow us to reduce fraud as an issue, we need to work with vendors, isolate the issues, remove it from the ecosystem and work both sides of the fence,” he said. “The more you can work with vendors to remove [fraud], the better chance we have at cleaning the ecosystem at the root.”

All parties involved in the buying and selling of online ads must be aware and constantly alert of fraudulent websites and ads buyers, if the $7.2 billon lost to ad fraud in 2016 expects to see any decrease in 2017.