Ad fraud, particularly in the age of programmatic, remains one of the industry’s most murky secrets with estimates it costs marketers upwards of $US 16 billion in dodgy digital ads.
And now a new study by US digital marketing firm Tune (you can read it here) highlights how widespread the problem actually is.
Tune analysed 24 billion clicks and over 700 ad networks. The research found eight of the networks were 100 per cent fraudulent and 35 had over 50 per cent ad fraud.
On average the study found that 15 per cent of all advertising on mobile was fraudulent. However, we should add the study didn’t investigate Australian ads or networks.
The author of the research, John Kostier, noted: The hard truth for marketers is that virtually no ad network is completely untouched by fraud. As a result, marketers must get the proper tools to avoid being cheated.”
Kostier said the problem was not going away anytime soon, despite concerted efforts to combat it.
On better news, Tune found many ad networks had as little as two per cent ad fraud. “A large number at under five per cent. In fact, half of the 500-plus ad networks that have significant traction and traffic have less than five per cent fraud,” he said.
The biggest contributor to ad fraud, the study noted, was that a lot of ad networks “re brokered” ad traffic to other networks or sub publishers. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does allow questionable or fraudulent traffic to more easily enter the picture. “In some cases, the re-brokering happens more than once. And in the re-brokering process, often to sub-publishers, traffic quality can suffer,” the report noted.