Digital marketing ad spend has increased exponentially over the past 5 years. It has been in every marketer’s tool box with its ability to reach specific demographics and people with specific interest, while also being able to track the effectiveness of these ads.
However, there has been a significant rise in ad fraud, as dirty players in the digital marketing industry seek to profit off the large budgets that corporations are pouring into the digital marketing industry. A recent report by Gartner found that out of the USD 700 billion digital ad industry, an estimated USD 100 billion a year is lost to ad fraud. Large corporations have reduced their digital ad spend and have seen no change in their sales. For example, P&G cut their ad spend by USD 200 million and saw no change in sales. Uber cut their ad spend by USD 120 million for app installs and saw no change in their rate of app installs.
So what exactly is ad fraud and where does it come from? Well it comes from 2 sources. Firstly, it comes from click bots that are clicking websites that advertisers put out, giving the impression that there are authentic website visits, when in reality, these are merely click bots. Secondly, there are fake websites that advertisers are being unknowingly placed on through ad exchanges.
So what can we do as marketers to combat ad fraud? Well, the main thing is to be constantly vigilant of these fraudsters, and continuously review our marketing campaigns/ channels. While there is the temptation to leave our marketing campaigns/channels running and automated, the prevalence of ad fraud requires us to consistently monitor our campaigns KPI and to be weary of any signs of ad fraud.