If you’re an advertiser and ad verification isn’t a top priority on your list of things to do in the remainder of 2017, hold on, because we’re about to give you the facts as to why this needs to jump from a “we’ll do it down the road” thought to a “how quickly can we implement this?” strategy.

Here’s a rundown of the quick and easy facts on ad fraud:

  1. A projected $6.5 billion is expected to be lost in 2017 to fraudulent ad traffic in digital advertising*
  2. Fraud is inconsistent, but is always on, and hits its peak during holiday season when the most money is being spent on online advertisements*
  3. This can impact both programmatic and direct buying methods*
  4. Ad fraud types are wide, and always growing, but the main ones today are bots (ads being served to non-humans), domain spoofing (presenting low-profile websites as premium ones), ad stacking (ads and pixels stacked behind a viewable ad unit) and click farms (companies paying employees to click on ads)

When talking about dollars lost due to fraudulent ads, if you do some research into this spend level, you may read that this is actually down from 2016. However, this is basing projections off a panel of advertisers, which includes big names like Bank of America, who have invested heavily in cleaning up their purchase funnel to ensure their ads are showing to actual humans who can take an action on their site.

The inconsistency to ad fraud proves a case to continuously track media as new technologies are entering the space every day and are posing a threat to the ads that you are running.

At first, advertisers assumed that direct buys would be safe from fraud due to the guarantee of inventory. Unfortunately, as technologies have gotten smarter, ads aren’t necessarily safe on your direct publisher’s sites anymore.

As bleak as that outlook may appear for the future of digital advertising (in terms of our ability to reach real people helping the impact of dollars spent) there are solutions to help make sure your media is as clean as possible when it’s being served in the digital space. Partners like Integral Ad Science, Double Verify, Moat Analytics, etc. are built to track your impressions served on programmatic, direct and social buys and give you insights into exactly where your ads are being served and alongside what content.

Partnership costs and tracking will vary for each of these, but essentially they will fire a macro within your placement tags that will track who, where and alongside what content your ads are being served.

Pre and post-bid targeting allow for you to be smart about the media you’re running. 

Pre-bid will stop your ad from serving as the site is calling it to serve. Post-bid will take learnings from the day prior and determine if the ads can continue to run on these placements and sites in the future. Partners will also monitor the content your ads are running alongside and can apply negative keyword, white and black lists to help with your brand safety and maintain users’ perception of you.

Fortunately, if you’re behind in the game, you’re in the good company of thousands of advertisers. A benefit to this is a lot of the verification partners have been around for several years allowing them to have countless insights into where fraud is happening and how to prevent it for your ads.

Additionally, agency partnerships are always there to help make sure we are being the most efficient with dollars.

The best news is, most publishers and large vendors already have direct partnerships with verification companies and should be willing to cover the costs associated with running the macros within your tags.

Currently, this does not apply to the walled gardens like Facebook and Google, which would charge on a CPM basis to have insights into their media.

Reach out to your account team today to get more detailed information on ad verification and how to apply it to your current campaigns!

*ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and White Ops, Inc. Bot Baseline Report 2016-2017