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Common Questions About Ad Fraud

In a past installment, we talked about virtual fraud, and in another article, we talked about new forms of commerce, marketing, etc. With the arrival of social networks and with a more “domestic” use of the internet. So, it is not illogical that there is a wide variety of frauds, in this case Ad Fraud.

Many people have heard or not the term but find the whole concept confusing. To help dissolve the confusion, we are going to discuss answers to some of the most frequent questions about advertising fraud and what you can do about it.

Ad Fraud Is a Real Problem?

Depend, mensuration on how much of a problem it really is differ significantly depending on who you ask. Some estimates suggested that 2019 saw about $5.8 billion US lost to ad fraud worldwide. It is hard to tell exactly how much money ad fraud consumes because much of it goes unnoticed by the companies affected.

Often, fraud simply gets written off as an unsuccessful campaign. Because of this, every ad fraud report is simply an estimate. And to make the thing even harder, every company that creates a report uses different metrics and data to create their estimates because there is not yet a set standard for what constitutes advertising fraud.

As an example, we can talk about Companies like the Internet Advertising Bureau (or IAB) which often report lower ad fraud estimates than security companies that, of course, generally use different criteria to determine what is ad fraud. 

Even they cannot agree about if the ad fraud will be continuing to thrive or declining. Though, it is accepted that advertising has become a major problem that digital advertising will need to solve.

Who Is Affected?

Not every company is impacted by it in the same way or to the same degree. Because there is no standard way of recognizing ad fraud when it occurs, but every advertiser has been affected by it at some point whether they realized it or not.

Like with many other things, each company will have varying levels of risk that they are willing to take on for different campaigns. Additionally, keep in mind some types of campaigns are more prone to fraud than others.

In a specific moment, referral fraud was a common issue. Cookies were planted on devices when consumers download certain apps or updates. These cookies fooled campaigns into paying referral fees for additional downloads and purchases that were unrelated to the original download.

How Do We Know If We Have an Ad Fraud Problem?

To recognize ad fraud, you will need the right tools in place to do. There are several, as the ad networks that provide basic tools but, we recommend you the advanced analytics which are the best way to see how much ad fraud is costing you.

Now, if you will do it on your own, you will need detailed analytics and data. Get a report for your campaigns that breaks down traffic over time as well as referring sites, exit pages, and other important metrics. Look for unusual patterns or things that do not make sense. Here some examples:

  • Unnatural patterns and trends that do not make sense often indicate the existence of ad fraud.
  • Most traffic follows a specific navigation pattern.
  • Spikes in traffic that occur at the same time every day.
  • High traffic from a specific referral site coupled with an unusually high bounce rate.

To be sure, more tools may be needed to confirm fraud, but in general, it is an innovative idea to change or remove campaigns that have these attributes.

Most crimes end up being punished for how they move money rather than the ad fraud itself. Because digital advertising is global, fraud can come from anywhere in the world. In addition, many countries simply do not have laws that address ad fraud.