Q Thoughts

Tackling Fraud…and Beyond

businessman is lying

Data visualization, programmatic advertising, second-party data – all good stuff. As a bunch of tech marketing geeks, “The Q” can spend hours talking about these topics. So let’s switch gears and talk about something that, for obvious reasons, makes us all a little uneasy. Let’s talk about fraud. According to a recent post at Moz, Samuel Scott reported that the industry’s ad fraud problem is likely to amount to $7 billion in wasteful ad spend a year. Not good – for any of us. So how did it get this bad and just what can be done to curb this gigantic loss? The answer: A lot of hands-on hard work.

But first, here’s some background on the current situation…Ad spend in print is tough to quantify (an understatement), and the launch of all things digital was expected to change that. CTR, CPM, CPA, CPC, etc. – the list of acronyms invented to alleviate our headaches and improve behavioral understanding is massive. Fast forward to today and the landscape is ever-more complicated. And fraud – it’s still here. In fact, not much has changed, and some would argue that the web’s complex impression-based nature has made it even worse.

The current condition of fraud in today’s day in advertising age is a mixture of several convoluted components, the most pressing of which include:

1. Ads that are not seen by a real, living and breathing, human. As Matthew Ingram, Senior Writer focused on media technology at Fortune points out, “the biggest fraud of all is the use of bots, software programs designed to mimic the activities of human browsers. Such programs can drive huge amounts of traffic to websites, and can even scroll through a site and click on links, just as a human browser would.” This non-human bot traffic still delivers impressions, however, diluting ad spend.

2. Publisher fraud. This type of fraud can consist of various dubious tactics, and most of them (excluding the rarely accidental) are worrisome. Reid Tatoris at MediaPost expands: “People will hide ads behind other ads, spoof their domain to trick ad networks into serving higher-paying ads on their site, and purposefully send bots to a site to drive up impressions.” Essentially, methods used to cheat advertisers are costly and fraudulent, to say the least.

Sigh. That’s a lot of heavy-duty news. Fortunately, there’s also good news…

The Q (recently selected as a IAB Member of The Spider and Bot List) is seeing light at the end of the suspicious activity tunnel. In fact, with a 4.58% fraud rate to-date (roughly 3.5X less than the industry average), the light may be finally paving the way for a much brighter, more trustworthy, ad buying future. To put this rate into perspective, according to a recent report by Integral Ad Science (one of the multiple ad verification sources that we use for input), industry ad fraud for networks and exchanges is at 14.1%.

Greg Loeffelholz, VP of Platform Management at ownerIQ, credits the team: “We were tasked with the challenge of significantly lowering our fraud rate, and we’ve succeeded; surpassing our expectations. Our comprehensive focus includes eliminating bad actors in the media ecosystem and ensuring that all impressions are being delivered to real humans. In doing so, we developed proprietary processes and algorithms, collaborating with multiple ad verification partners, auditors, and internal teams to make this happen.” Moreover, ownerIQ was able meet this feat and cut their fraud rate by 2/3 in only 3 months – now that’s big.

To learn more about how ownerIQ can give you trustworthy results that tie to real business outcomes, please visit www.owneriq.com.

Categories:Posts from 2015


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