5 Reasons Online Ad Fraud Continues to Net Billions Annually
Ad fraud is by no means a crime that people haven’t heard of. Quite to the contrary, nearly everyone involved with online advertising is aware of it. Advertisers, publishers, digital marketers, and tech companies all know that a ton of money is lost every year to ad fraud. And yet ad fraud continues to net billions of dollars annually. Why?
The first thing to note is that ad fraud is a complex beast. Despite click fraud monitoring, automated click fraud protection software, human analysis, and other sound strategies, it is tough to keep up. Security experts and scammers are locked in a constant battle to see who will prevail. Sometimes security experts have the upper hand. Other times the advantage belongs to scammers.
At FraudBlocker.com, the makers of an industry leading click fraud monitoring and prevention tool says there are a number of things that contribute to the success scammers enjoy. Here are just five of them:
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1) Advertisers Don’t Know What It Is
Online advertisers hear about ad fraud all the time. But hearing about it and knowing what it actually is are two different things. Few advertisers know how ad fraud works. They don’t know how they might be impacted by it. They do not even know what it looks like. As a result, they lose tremendous amounts of money without understanding why.
2) Digital Marketers Don’t Know How to Stop It
Digital marketing agencies tend to know more about ad fraud than advertisers, but they are not necessarily knowledgeable in how to stop it. It’s not surprising given that security isn’t their specialty. They are marketers. They know how to research keywords, design ads, and track results. They don’t know how to prevent fraud.
3) The Ecosystem Is Huge
The biggest hindrance to stopping ad fraud could very well be the advertising ecosystem itself. It is a huge ecosystem, to say the least. And unfortunately, with size comes plenty of opportunities for scammers to exploit the most vulnerable victims.
Just to give you an idea of the vastness of the ecosystem, consider Google’s PPC platform. Although Google pretty much dominates the PPC space, they don’t actually publish most of the ads they sell. Publishing is the responsibility of third party entities that sign up to be part of Google’s publishing network. There are literally thousands of them.
With so many players in the mix, it is very difficult to pinpoint exactly where fraud is coming from. If it were that easy, security experts would have stamped out ad fraud a long time ago.
4) The Opportunities Are Plentiful
Hand-in-hand with the huge advertising ecosystem are the plentiful opportunities scammers can seize on. A skilled fraudster can steal through his publishing platform or through affiliate websites. He can inject malicious code onto thousands of computers. He can target mobile apps, streaming platforms, and on and on. Endless opportunities are waiting to be seized.
5) Tactics Are Constantly Changing
Finally, ad fraud is challenging to fight because scammer tactics are constantly changing. It is in a scammer’s best interest to stay one or two steps ahead of security experts. So that’s exactly what they do. Every time the security industry closes one door, scammers are ready to open two more.
Ad fraud is a multibillion dollar industry. It is perpetrated by experts who are particularly good at what they do. It can be stopped, but doing so requires the combined efforts of advertisers, digital marketing agencies, security experts, and tech platforms. Until all the involved parties get their collective act together, scammers will maintain a decided advantage.