The Dark Side of Digital Advertising

Attention Advertisers of India....!

If you're investing in Digital Advertising, you're a victim to some form of Ad Fraud.  This may come to you as a shock or you're fairly new to this. For the latter, I feel you.

Advertisers lost Rs. 11300 crores ($1.63 Billion) to Ad Fraud in 2018 (according to a report by TechARC), yet they fail to realize the extent of this problem. I don't blame them, since there's very little information about this on the web.

The problem is its difficult to understand who causes the fraud and who can protect you from it. As an Advertiser if you rely on Agencies, Ad Networks, Publishers, or Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) to eradicate Ad Fraud, you'll be on your own to defend yourselves.

Most large enterprises can have an entire team of Specialists in charge for managing Digital Campaigns and minimizing the impact of Ad Fraud.

However, most online businesses would simply rely on Google Analytics or any other Web analytical tool to monitor their campaigns & believe that ad networks, DSPs or other platforms monitoring bot traffic for them will be enough.

But is it?

Unfortunately no! 😒

Although the most common form of Ad Fraud is when fraudsters use bots to get paid for impressions and clicks on advertisements. There are more than 15 ways your Ad Spends can be looted.

How is this happening?

There are millions of bad bots traversing the internet everyday, and many of these have gotten better at acting as humans. These bots pass  through your system everyday and affect the metrics on which you set your Campaign goals.

As a media buyer, when you bid or buy in the digital advertising space, decisions are made based on Analytics and the provided target audience. Few of us directly buy from publishers while most advertisers use an ad network, like Google, AppNexus, Pubmatic etc. These systems have simplified the buying process as it allows advertisers to purchase multiple placements at once.

This system allows fraudsters to take advantage by spoofing  and creating low-quality sites and selling them as high-value inventory. Instead of humans, the ads are then clicked on by numerous malicious bots that bleed your ad budget little by little until it is completely exhausted. Also often these malicious bots acting as humans get tagged for re-marketing campaigns.

This is bad news for the advertising industry, as most of us won't be able to tell the difference between a bot acting as a human and actual human. Our analytical numbers are manipulated with false data, tricking us to think that the campaigns are performing, and we end up re-investing and wasting more of our Marketing Budgets.

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