10 Agency Leaders On How Advertisers Can Stop Losing Money To Ad Fraud

Despite companies around the world investing in new technologies to fight ad fraud and striving to remain vigilant, it remains a persistent challenge for advertisers. From sophisticated cybercriminal organizations to rogue publishers and even individuals, perpetrators are using increasingly complex and innovative techniques to deceive and defraud advertisers.

Annual costs to advertisers are in the billions, and rising year after year; but aside from wasting budgets, ad fraud also undermines the accuracy and effectiveness of targeting efforts, diminishing the return on investment for campaigns. Below, 10 members of Forbes Agency Council share their best tips to help advertisers and media buyers avoid losing precious budget dollars to ad fraud.

1. Combine Numerous Anti-Spam Technologies

Make ad fraud against your accounts a tedious or expensive affair for perpetrators. Ad fraudsters are typically hired by a competitor or click harvester. The more anti-spam technologies you combine, the less likely it is for anybody to want to program or engage in click fraud against your account. CAPTCHA, IP blocking, VPN and bot detection, and similar tactics can be combined for great protection. – Austin Irabor, NETFLY

2. Reference Event Tags Across Multiple Third-Party Sources

Analytics tell a story, are designed to support data-driven decisions and optimizations, and should not be taken for anything more than that. Marketers have to assume there are bots, fraud and inconsistencies at each step of the road and sift through the key performance indicators mindfully. Event tags should be referenced across multiple third-party sources, especially to get an actual pulse on the number of conversions from iOS users. – Jason Fishman, Digital Niche Agency (DNA)

3. Work Closely With All Of Your Advertising Partners

Work closely with all of your advertising partners, such as ad networks, publishers and technology companies. Demand open reporting that gives you specific information on the places where your advertisements are being seen, the audience they are reaching and the interactions they are generating. – Sashien Godakandae, MBA, Zap Media

4. Focus On And Validate Quality Over Quantity

Ensure you’re tracking, measuring and optimizing digital ad dollars in meaningful ways. Who is engaging and interacting with your ads? Are they within your target audience? Are they located in key markets? Are they taking the post-ad actions on and off your site that align with, meet or even exceed the larger business goals of your campaign? – Rachel Winer, ROKK Solutions


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5. Embrace AI-Driven Monitoring Systems

To effectively combat ad fraud, embrace AI-driven monitoring systems that work in real time. Prioritize tools that adapt quickly to new fraudulent methods. As soon as any unusual activity is detected, it should be flagged and examined. Keep these tools updated, and collaborate with trusted partners for shared insights. – Mohamed Elhawary, BeUniqueness

6. Employ Real-Time Anomaly Detection

Utilizing machine learning, real-time anomaly detection identifies irregular patterns in ad traffic almost instantly, distinguishing between genuine user interactions and suspicious activities. By continuously training the system with new data, it adapts to evolving fraud strategies, providing timely alerts and minimizing wasted ad spend on illegitimate impressions. – Garrett Atkins, VIE Media

7. Keep Track Of Analytics And Reporting In Real Time

Don’t do ads! Just kidding. It is critical to keep fraudsters on their toes by switching up campaigns, using the safety and regulatory tools provided by various platforms and, more importantly, keeping track of analytics and reporting in real time. This way, you can adjust campaigns on the fly instead of relying on “set it and forget it” models. – Aleksandar Sasha Jovicic, Executive Digital

8. Implement Blockchain Tech For Ad Verification

Implementing blockchain technology for ad verification can help combat ad fraud. Its decentralized nature ensures transparency and reduces fraudulent activities. Smart contracts can verify ad placements and responses, providing real-time, trustworthy data to advertisers and media buyers. This in turn will help deter ad fraud on digital campaigns. – Geoff Crain, Kingstar Media

9. Prioritize Results Over Lower Costs

Use verification tools and blocking or anti-targeting technology to ensure ads are served correctly. Consistently monitor and find ways to limit fraud across all campaigns. Apply pre-bid filters for programmatic buys and use exclusion and inclusion lists as needed. Don’t rely on just one strategy, or you’ll miss opportunities by limiting your reach. – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR & Marketing

10. Learn To Recognize Your Adversaries

Recognize your adversary at first glance. Familiarize yourself and the team with potential threats by identifying them. Understanding the specific types of ad fraud that are prevalent in your industry will enhance your vigilance. Educate your team about these fraud types, and devise a comprehensive plan to prevent or mitigate risks in case of an encounter with fraudsters. – Michael Kuzminov, HypeFactory