The advertising industry loses about $18.5 billion annually to ad fraud, according to a report released recently by Distil Networks. Fortunately, we know it is a problem and have the solutions needed to address the issue now.
The following two tools can help you fight fraud.
1. Better Performance Metrics
In response to the Distil Networks fraud report, COO of adMarketplace Adam Epstein told AdAge: "Fraud thrives when advertisers measure the wrong events like pageviews, video views—those are events that both a human and a bot can do… If advertisers are measuring things only humans can do, like pulling out a credit card and paying for something, then the ad networks are going to have every incentive to kick bot traffic out."
So, advertisers can mitigate fraud by measuring campaign outcomes that fraudsters cannot mimic.
How can marketers optimize to outcomes?
Marketers can use programmatic software, which uses real-time data to influence media-buying decisions, to optimize for sales conversions that require an authorized payment to trigger an event (instead of just impressions or clicks in their campaigns).
Bots cannot trigger a sale... at least not yet! That makes sales outcomes a natural antidote to fraudulent behavior.
Brands, agencies, or marketing strategists must determine which metric to focus on in their campaign.
By no longer using reach and CTR as the only success metrics in campaigns, and instead shifting focus to sales conversions, brand lift, new customer acquisition, and other outcomes that fraudsters have great difficulty mimicking, both the advertiser and agency side will work to eliminate fraud.
2. Aligned Data and Media Strategies
Who is helping you run your campaigns?
Consider partners that manage both data and media. Doing so will help identify and block a higher degree of fraud than providers that only deal in one of these areas.
Partners that deal in both data and media are in a greater position to fight fraud because they can layer historical transactional data with media behavior. They also likely have access to superior premium inventory at market value. If a deal looks too good to be true (such as a premium brand name selling inventory at very low cost), it probably is.
Having access to fresh transaction data is key. This data indicates real consumers who are currently shopping. As is sometimes the case, when a bot infects a user’s browser, it's important to immediately detect it and remove the "tainted" data. Working with continually refreshed transactional data is critical.
There are additional benefits of using these types of advertising partners. You will be able to see purchase data across dozens of commerce companies, allowing for the identification of bots, whose online behaviors can often be distinguished from that of a human.
Such advertising partners can also blacklist fraudulent providers and prevent them from buying false inventory on sites, regardless of what kind of programmatic strategies the advertiser is using. Those types of partners are also more likely to be transparent about media and performance with you, and they have a rigorously screened client, supplier, and partner list.
So, you can catch fraud early and optimize campaign strategy.
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With the right support and processes in place, you can get closer to the best version of outcomes marketing that not only limits fraud but also drives truly transformative performance.
Push yourself to track performance-based campaign metrics. Moreover, work with a partner that has a strong media footprint and access to fresh shopper data so that you fight fraud from all angles.