Ad Fraud: Brand War Against Bots

Ad fraud on apps and the web is an endemic problem. Advertisers, publishers and agencies are engaged in a war against digital ad fraud bots. In a reaction to ad frauds, recently P&G cut $140 million and Chase slashed the number of websites carrying their advertisements by almost 99% without experiencing any change in business outcomes.

Ad fraud is the practice of serving digital ads that have zero chance of being seen by a human user or are intentionally misrepresented. Nonhuman, or bot, traffic use tactics like rotating user agents, random proxies to generate fake pageviews and fake clicks, even fake form submissions and, more for paid ad impressions. In 2018, nonhuman fraud traffic in digital advertising is estimated to cause losses of around 19 billion U.S. dollars to advertisers worldwide. There is also intentional misrepresentation in the form of human-based traffic fraud generated by publishers, who hide ads by “ad stacking” or “impression stacking,” For example, impressions can be generated when web sites are loaded as pop-unders on porn and piracy sites, or through domain spoofing. It is a significant problem that affects multiple formats, such as display and video.

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