Ad fraud is getting closer to Top-3 organized crimes to become one of the most profitable fraudulent actions

All digital ad players know about the dangers of ad fraud in the industry. Indeed, everyone starting from advertisers to ADT to publishers fall under fraudsters attack with each campaign or even make fraudulent actions themselves.

The total cost of ad fraud is debatable: The WFA predict ad fraud will become the biggest market for organized crime by 2025, being worth $50 billion. For the shorter term TrafficGuard/Juniper sets it at $34 billion in 2019 and predicts that it will increase to $87 billion by 2022; most of this will be lost in the APAC region, with the current $19 billion set to rise to $56 billion.

However, I still hear that people are wondering why, having so much information and predicting such tremendous harm in the digital ad industry caused by scammers, we still have not yet got together like the Marvel superheroes to beat our Digital Ad Universe enemies?

Lack of transparency in digital ad industry

By 2019, the media supply chain has become too long, which makes advertisers waste way too much time and money. There are too many different agencies involved in the process of setting and managing each ad campaign, thus cutting the advertising budget almost in half. But is it really worth it?

Smarter decision makers, those who really care about their brand, clearly see the secrecy of media agencies: they do not disclose the campaign setup processes, they do not provide detailed reports during campaigns, etc. Then, while nicely smiling and maybe ordering their afterwork drink, they provide you a short report without giving access to verify their results along with an invoice.

Yes, medial digital ad supply chain participants are not paid extra to care, especially about fraud protection. But smart advertisers do not need to pay them. On the contrary, they can just skip those intermediary players and set ad campaigns themselves. We are on the rise of SaaS solutions for digital ad – SaaS that can give you full control, transparency and high ROI.

Big companies like Bayer have just recently announced that they would take all their programmatic advertising spendings in-house. This step proves that this new development can be not only be a big money saver (Digidays states Bayer saved up to $10 million by taking programmatic in-house), but it also allows companies to stay in control over their programmatic data outcome, which is quality over quantity.

Lack of motivation to fight ad fraud

The reality is that digital ad supply chain players (excluding advertisers and usually DSPs) make a lot of money from fraudulent activity. The fight with ad fraud will cost them a significant part of their revenue.

Becoming profitable with ad fraud, some publishers and exchanges can maliciously discourage digital ad networks or platforms from solving their problem. Clicks bring revenue regardless of whether they came from bots or actual people.

Scammers are getting smarter

According to Interceptd’s 2019 Q1 Mobile Ad Fraud Report, even though device farming is still the most common fraud activity, the click spamming and click injections are also gaining momentum.

Maybe the overall situation doesn’t look too bad and you might feel familiar with all these fraud types. Nevertheless, even knowing the specific ways fraudsters act, we cannot train a big protection army in the universities. Everything they would have learnt a year ago has become old and useless now.  

“There is always an arms race between the bad guys and the good guys – they win and lose alternately”

Mark Forster, Founder and CEO of Adello

It all brings us to the fact that fraudulent technologies do not stop improving. Every time we detect and beat digital ad fraud sources, it won’t be long until someone will come up with new ideas. Bad guys do not sleep, they develop new plans and rub their hands in anticipation of profit. Usually we can observe the dynamic of attacking each other one after the other as cyclical phenomenon. 

So, as long as all industry stakeholders are not interested to fight against of fraud, there is just one option for advertisers to run successful campaigns: get on to the captain’s bridge with a transparent SaaS platform, save money by excluding intermediate agencies and to invest more in their brand awareness.

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