Study: Ad Fraud Is A $116m Threat To Australian Media Budgets

Study: Ad Fraud Is A $116m Threat To Australian Media Budgets

A study of nearly one million Australian browsers, conducted by Datalicious, has revealed the impact of ad fraud on the Australian digital media industry. The total impact to the Australian digital media industry is estimated to be $116 million, with $68 million impacted by fraudulent website visitors and $48 million impacted by fraudulent ad impressions.

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The research was conducted by injecting ad fraud detection scripts into the page of partner websites. Over 1 million data points were captured as part of the analysis.

Ad fraud has been a topical issue within the media industry, as brands and marketers demand greater accountability from media agencies over the effectiveness and transparency from their media investment and performance. The research is an attempt to quantify the opportunity cost for the media industry should it choose to dismiss or overlook the tangible impact ad fraud can have on budget allocation.

Display ad fraud can be broken down into two major categories: Fraudulent ad impressions caused by ad stacking or pixel stuffing (ads that were never really served) and fraudulent website visitors caused by illegal bot activity (simulated users that do not really exist).

Impact of Ad Fraud Key Insights

  • 1.2 per cent of the recorded traffic is suspected to be bots, which translates to 4.36 per cent of all display advertising traffic.

  • In Australia alone, this puts $68 million of display ad spend at risk in a year.

  • 0.2 per cent of all sessions are suspected for Ad stacking/pixel stuffing, which translates to 3.05 per cent of all ad views which can be classified as suspicious ad servings.

  • In Australia alone, this puts $48 million of display ad spend at risk in a year.

The research shows that while it’s not panic stations yet for Australian marketers, it highlights the need for independent media attribution outside of media agency reporting.

While announcing the publication of the research, Datalicious CEO Christian Bartens said “While the overall percentage of ad fraud is still small, the resulting dollar value of budget wastage is already quite significant – and who really wants to spend a single cent on ads that are not being seeng by real people? Marketers and media agencies need to start tracking the impact of ad fraud.”