Digital Display Ad Fraud: Best Practices for Buyers

Source: emarketer

April 28, 2015: Industry execs offer tips for buyers to fight fraud

Ad fraud, the practice of falsifying site traffic counts or activities using deceptive tactics, is a top digital display advertising concern.

A new eMarketer report, “Ad Fraud in Digital Display: The Scope of Fraud and Its Impact on Buyers and Sellers,” discusses several best practices beyond the adoption of a fraud detection tool that buyers are employing today, based on interviews with executives across the ad industry.

Ditch simplistic measurement models that are easy to game. By expanding campaign measurement and optimization criteria beyond single measures such as clicks or even views, buyers can better identify instances of fraud and protect themselves against future occurrences.

“If you’re optimizing to some superficial metric, in the end, that’s what the fraudsters pay attention to,” said Stuart MacDougall, CTO of SourceKnowledge. “If they see the IAB wants 70% viewability, they’re going to go out and try to manipulate the system so they get 70% viewability.”

Know where your ads are running.Taking a set-it-and-forget-it approach to campaign execution—particularly when buying on ad networks and exchanges—can be a dangerous practice. Advertisers must be diligent about checking the sites they’re running on and the levels of traffic those partners are driving.

“Use common sense,” MacDougall said. “Look at the top 10 sites you’re running on. Is one generating more traffic than Yahoo? Those are simple things you can do to avoid a lot of fraud.

Choose partners wisely.By prompting potential partners and platforms for their existing fraud protection practices at the onset and understanding their policies for accepting and policing downstream partners and buying traffic, advertisers can get a good idea of how willing those parties will be to work with them when fraud does present itself.

“Your A-List publishers won’t have as much fraud as a blind exchange,” said Michael Lampert, senior vice president of New York media and account management at 360i. “So you need to partner in places where the inventory quality and partners are at their highest, and those partners need to be doing things on their back end to make sure they’re not bringing dirt into the system.

Don’t forget about mobile.Mobile might not be as prime a target for fraud right now, but advertisers shouldn’t let their guard down. By applying the same practices they put forth on the desktop to mobile web and keeping up-to-date on the latest in-app detection practices, advertisers can best plan for the future.

“Even just the basic stuff like making sure websites on blocked lists for desktop are also blocked on mobile devices can solve a ton of problems for the buyer,” said Sean Crawford, vice president of global inventory and marketplace at AOL Platforms.