A new global report has found that advertising click fraud is becoming so widespread it will cost advertisers $US50 billion ($A67 billion) over the next decade.
Ad fraud is defined as the deliberate practice of attempting to serve ads that have no potential to ever be viewed by a human user while false reports are often given to the actual advertisers on how many people did in fact see the ad and for what length of time. Many of the clicks to fraudulent ads are often generated by tech software.
The report by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) says that ad fraud is “second only to the drugs trade” as a source of income for organised crime.
It also alleges that tech companies, agencies and publishers are complicit because they all (albeit unintentionally) benefit from it through fees and commissions.
The report was compiled in conjunction with the research firm Botlab.io that commented, in the foreseeable future anyway, there is no way to eliminate ad fraud.
Botlab.io’s recommendations were:
• Advertisers needed to acquire the in-house security skill-set to monitor ad fraud.
• Advertisers need to set clear expectations on what they expect from their partners and encourage open information sharing related to preventing ad fraud.
• Advertisers should avoid runs of exchange buys in favour of databases of safe sites and understand that fraud (and their exposure to it) is not going away.
• Contracts with agencies and publishers need to be in place to ensure that there are clear penalties for misallocating spend to ad fraud related inventory.
Stephan Loerke, the WFA’s chief executive, said: “Advertisers are the sole victim of ad fraud and the WFA wants to equip them with the tools to minimise their exposure. There is much that advertisers can do to improve the situation in terms of setting new standards, contractual changes and increased transparency, but ultimately behaviour change is required across the industry.”