Efforts are being made by several leaders in the advertising and technology worlds to combat ad fraud online. A myriad of solutions are available, but the problem may be much bigger than originally thought. Online ad fraud cost marketers over $12 billion in 2016 and analysts forecast $16.4 billion for the same if advertising expenditure grows to $80 billion this year.
The figures were made public last March by a study commissioned by The&Partnership, m/SIX and Adloox and “serve as a stark reminder that much still remains to be done in order to protect and nurture the future vitality of the digital economy,” said The&Partnership founder Johnny Hornby in the presentation of the report: “What Happens Next: How to Reverse the Rising Tide of Ad Fraud.”
It’s not the only bit of troubling news faced by the ad industry. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has reportedly been running tests with major media properties like The New York Times and CBS to detect false ads in their programmatic ad inventories. They shut off the programmatic ad inventory and found that millions of video and display ad spots were still available for multiple ad exchange platforms, included Google’s AdExchange, as well as AppNexus and Oath’s BrightRoll according Business Insider who talked to a source with knowledge of the test.
As the problem gets more attention, solutions will begin to take shape. For instance, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) proposed its Ads.Txt an Authorized Digital Sellers index in which publishers and distributors declared publicly who is authorized to sell digital ad inventory. Of course this only will work if the media, the exchange platforms, and the advertisers work together and adopt the protocol.
This is not the only solution that advertisers, sellers, and agencies are working on. The leading ad seller company, Group M, has recently named a Global Executive VP of Brand Safety. Since July 26, John Montgomery has been in charge of fighting ad fraud.
“Clients want to know their brands are safe and that the digital components of their media plans are effective in every region in which they operate. And importantly, they deserve to get what they’re paying for,” said Rob Norman, chief digital officer in a statement cited by Adweek.