Fight the Good Fight Against Ad Fraud
A recent study done by the Association of National Advertisers predicts that $7.2 billion in advertising dollars globally will be spent on non-human bot traffic in 2016, which is up 14% from 2015. Industry experts are saying that about one-third of ad traffic is delivered to bots and bots are becoming better at mimicking human behavior in order to go undetected.
Do not let these numbers scare you. While these bots are sophisticated, the best way to fight them is with a multifaceted, equally sophisticated media buying strategy. BPI actively works with publishers and networks to fight ad fraud.
Below are a few ways we work with our clients to defend our advertising buys online that you can leverage as well:
1. Knowledge is power. One of the strongest tools to fight ad fraud is to monitor what is going on and where. Numerous companies such as White Ops, Double Verify and Integral Ad Science track non-human traffic and determine which ad calls are fraudulent. These monitoring systems continuously learn and adjust to discover what traffic qualifies as fraud.
2. Don’t bid on bots. According to the ANA study, one of the largest jumps in bot traffic in 2015 was from programmatic buys. If you run programmatic campaigns, it helps to layer on pre bid fraud blocking. Integral Ad Science and Double Verify can be layered on in most DSPs and they block the systems from making bids on known fraudulent sites. These two companies use their monitoring backend to help block bid calls from known fraudulent sites and constantly update as they track.
3. Target individuals not broad demographics. Design the campaign to reach known users, which will contribute to lower bot traffic. Utilize first party lists when possible and leverage trusted second and third party data in order to target people instead of bots. If trying to reach a certain group of people and you don’t have a list of consumers, utilize purchased second party data from a trusted source and/or third party data that has been vetted Even simply layering on these types of data will decrease fraudulent traffic.
4. Constant verification and education. With the information received from ad fraud monitoring campaigns, it helps to create blacklists and layer those lists to every campaign. Continue to update these lists, qualify sites and reevaluate partners to ensure a strong media mix.Also, cultivate relationships in the space in order to stay on the forefront of this issue. Since these bots are sophisticated and are constantly evolving continued education, discussion and verification is key.
At the end of the day, the best way we can fight ad fraud is to take steps to hit the bots where it hurts and not buy what they are selling. As buyers we have the power, we just need to hold vendors and ourselves accountable. Taking steps to monitor, block, target and educate will help reduce the percentage of media dollars wasted on bot traffic online.
-Kathie Kovach is a Senior Director of Ad Ops at Bully Pulpit Interactive where she oversees BPI’s ad operations and analytics team, which works to implement every corporate, political and non-profit client paid media buy at the agency. A self-described “geek and data nerd” she leverages her expertise in SEM, mobile, display and analytics to drive accountability, viewability and accurate targeting behind all of BPI’s advertising efforts. With over a decade of experience in advertising, Kathie has been responsible for over $300 million in ad spend and driven media placements in over 30 different countries around the world. Prior to joining BPI in 2014, Kathie spent over seven years a LMO where she specialized in government and corporate accounts such as Avis and The National Guard. She graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in business and marketing.