Every marketer aims to expose their ads to as many eyeballs as possible by making worthwhile ad investments. Digital advertising is more popular than ever, and the market is expected to grow to approximately $518 billion by 2023.
Unfortunately, wherever money is involved, so is the potential for fraud. Online ad fraud can be described as any purposeful activity that hinders the delivery of ads to its planned place or audience. Online ad fraud is a growing issue that’s expected to amount to $44 million by 2022, up from $19 billion in 2018.
Types of ad frauds
While ad fraud most commonly occurs through domain spoofing and bots, many unethical publishers also perform it to generate more traffic and, hence, more revenue. The most common kinds of online ad frauds are:
- Domain spoofing: Domain spoofing fakes an email or website name, so it appears legitimate. It aims to cover malicious and unsafe websites and emails.
- Ad injection: Through this technique, ads are placed in web pages without any payments or the site owners’ permission. These ads can also replace other, legitimate, ads that turn up on web pages they weren’t supposed to.
- Geo Masking: Location-based targeting is essential to execute an ad effectively. Geo masking changes the location and allows fraudulent advertisers to make low-quality traffic appear as if it’s high-quality.
- Cookie stuffing: Cooking stuffing is also known as cookie dropping. This unlawful technique involves a third-party dropping affiliate cookies on a user’s browser to get a commission out of sales occurring on that browser.
- Click spamming: In this type of ad fraud, the fraudster initiates clicks for users who haven’t made those clicks.
- Click injection: A form of click spamming, click injection uses an app a user unknowingly downloads, which “listens” to app installation broadcasts. When a new app is installed on the device, the fraudster triggers a click before completion and takes credit for it.
- Ad stacking: In this form of fraudulent technique, several ads are placed on top of each other in a single placement. Only the top ad is visible, and when the user clicks on it, clicks are registered for the ads beneath it.
- Pixel stuffing: In pixel stuffing, fraudulent advertisers stuff a 1×1 pixel on a web page. Even though it’s practically invisible to the eye, a click or impression is registered every time a user interacts with it.
Protection against ad fraud
Ad fraud can potentially kill your digital advertising campaigns by wasting your money. It’s vital to know how you can prevent this from happening and knowing what to do if it does happen. Here’s what you should do:
- Increase awareness by understanding and identifying fraudulent techniques
- Use anti-click fraud software
- Use a VPN
- Limit ad spend to credible websites
- Leverage and own full access to your data
- Analyze and understand your data
- Follow the industry’s best practices
Ad fraud is one of the most significant issues currently plaguing the advertising industry. With mindfulness and preventive measures, you can reduce the probability of being susceptible to fraudulent activities.