Why we need to talk about ad fraud…still

Why we need to talk about ad fraud…still

We’ve discussed fraud before here and here, but it’s time to dust off this topic once again. In digital advertising unfortunately fraud is almost like a sub-industry in itself. It changes, adapts and evolves just like advertising technology does. However, at Adcash we are trying to grow and adapt just like the fraudsters to make sure our traffic is clean and our clients, advertisers and publishers alike, get only the best quality in performance.

What’s happening on the fraud landscape in 2018?

Click fraud still stands out from other malicious or deceptive activities. This means automated bots that will generate large amounts of fake clicks on ads that do not come from actual human beings. These clicks have zero real value for advertisers, since there isn’t a human being seeing the ads. There is also conversion fraud, which may prove to be more difficult to capture, because oftentimes it may not be noticeable right away.

Then there’s also other kinds of fraudulent activity like ads that are stacked on top of each other or ads that are invisible to the human eye, but will still generate impressions. This means, again, that the advertiser is basically paying for nothing. There’s also website related fraud as well, for example, sites that are artificially made to look like they receive more traffic than they actually do and the advertiser ends up paying more for receiving less.

How does Adcash fraud detection work?

We take the quality of the traffic that we work with very seriously. Which is why we have a designated team working with fraud issues. In addition to that we have a number of automatic fraud detection filters in place as well. We currently have about 12 filters, but every quarter we try to come out with at least one new one. As of today we filter out around 19,6% of all the traffic that we receive, which is a very good ratio compared to general industry statistics.

Naturally, we take diligent care to keep our anti-fraud filters always up to date. The reason for such regular maintenance is, of course, the nature of the fraud business, that we mentioned already in the beginning. Fraud patterns keep evolving, but we try to catch as many different types of malicious or deceptive activity that we possibly could. We have so many filters not only to intercept the most obvious and widespread fraud, but also the more sophisticated and elaborate schemes. This is part of our ongoing process to try to separate human behaviour from bot conversions.

However, it is impossible to detect 100% of fraudulent activity and sometimes even the best filters occasionally let some bad stuff slip through the cracks. Again, this is due to the constantly evolving nature of fraud, but we aim to be at least a few steps ahead of the fraudsters. This means that we always appreciate your feedback. If you think that you’ve detected some suspicious activity, let us know and we’ll look into it right away!

We apply detection to our SSPs, too!

That’s right, we take care to clean up everything that comes through our platform. Since we allow transparent targeting across supply sources and you can also buy traffic on our platform that originates from other exchanges, we apply anti-fraud filters to that traffic as well. Consider this as an additional safeguard against being cheated and we don’t even charge anything extra for that! Our anti-fraud tools are by default always included in the package.

We’re not doing it to scare publishers, honestly

It’s actually quite the opposite. Monitoring our traffic quality closely has a very tangible benefit for our publishers as well. This means that in the grand scheme of things our ability to fight fraud successfully will be very profitable for publishers. We’ll have more advertisers open to investing more money, which will lead to higher eCPM and more trust in the relationship between advertisers and publishers.

So, like we said, if you suspect any kind of fraudulent activity in the traffic we send to you or you have any further questions about our anti-fraud activities, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

Have your campaigns optimized by machine intelligence for maximum effect

Have your campaigns optimized by machine intelligence for maximum effect

AI, machine learning, recommender systems are everywhere today. We have been very discreet about it so far, but we cannot keep it quiet any longer – Adcash and data science is a long time love story! We use this technology for fraud detection and campaign validation, for ad selection and optimization.

18 months ago our team started developing our own internal bidder, the idea was to create an automated ROI-based bidder. A system that would buy traffic automatically with an aim to provide a secured return on investment for the advertiser.

After testing the outstanding level of performance was clear along with its effective scalability and now we’re giving it to our advertisers to use without any extra cost.

After becoming a Performance DSP+ and making the inventory of more than 158 networks and supply partners available, we wanted to focus on supporting advertisers in running performance campaigns.

At the center of our intelligent recommender and prediction systems is the CPA Target or cost-per-acquisition target. Here we explain what this feature can do for you, how it works and, of course, give some extra useful tips. (Scroll down for the condensed TL;DR version 🙂 )

What is it?

Essentially we’ve built a machine learning system that bids for you on traffic sources that perform the best for you. Most of the industry and best supply sources are expecting advertisers to buy the supply on CPM or CPC basis while advertisers are expecting to secure their ROI by running CPA performance based campaigns.

Our aim with the Adcash DSP is clearly to connect these two worlds. You can now setup CPA based campaigns on each of the networks and traffic sources that we have available!

The whole point of the CPA Target is to make the campaign optimization process fully automated. This means that analysing traffic sources, blacklisting and measuring performance is done for you. The result is that you will be getting efficient conversions while easily scaling the number of campaigns you could run simultaneously while saving valuable time.

How it works?

You define the target price per conversion that you are willing to pay and our algorithms will explore the traffic sources automatically for you, analyzing their performance and cost. The system will process large amounts of data automatically in order to do the campaign exploration for you.

Your average cost per action will start higher than what you have set, but it will reduce progressively. The goal is to reach your average expected CPA as fast as possible mixing highly performing traffic sources with the exploration of new ones, while continuously removing the sources that have a lower likelihood for conversion.

How do we guarantee a fair price?

Our CPA Target is designed to be cost effective, but how does that really work? The explanation to this is the second price auction mechanism, which allows our advertisers to pay fair price. In a nutshell, second price auction means that if you outbid someone and win the auction, you end up paying the amount that they bid + $ 0.01. This means that you’ll save money by not having to pay the full bid and the prices are constantly kept fair. Simple? Yes. Effective? Yes and yes! It’s also pretty rare in this industry to get such reasonable and transparent payment models. We’re not bent in favor of neither the advertisers nor publishers, which means that you can rely on us to truly charge the fair amount.

Tips

The most important thing to keep in mind while using the Adcash CPA Target is that while it is an incredibly powerful tool, you still need to be patient. We advise to stick to a goal and not change it often. However, your patience will be rewarded usually within a few days. Be mindful when setting your goals as well. Always set the real value, either industry standards or metrics you have already experienced for user acquisition, this way you’ll be getting truly the best performing traffic for your campaigns.

Recap

Here’s the TL;DR version:

  • Our CPA Target is all about machine learning-powered automatic optimization in every aspect. You set the value and we’ll do the campaign exploration for you, finding the best performing sources automatically.
  • It saves time, because we have it all optimized for you, no manual tinkering is needed. This means that it’s also incredibly easily scalable as you now have the opportunity to apply automatic optimization to as many campaigns as you want to.
  • Extra resource for you to analyze large amounts of information about your campaigns very quickly.
  • You always pay a fair price, since we are one of the few to truly apply the second price auction model.

For maximum impact we suggest using this tool in combination with our other standout features such as inventory forecasting and supply targeting. To keep a close eye on performance we also have detailed reporting available.

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How to make native ads work for you in 2018

How to make native ads work for you in 2018

Native is clearly taking over the digital advertising industry and it’s not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, it doesn’t take a scientist to predict that this is where the advertising money will be going (although, we did find proof*, that by 2021 native advertising will be driving 74% of all ad revenue!). So to help you keep up, we’ve outlined three important points about how we feel it’s best to harness the power of native advertising for maximum impact in the year 2018!

1. User experience is what’s essentially at the heart the native ad format. Everything about native is unobtrusive and communicates value, which makes the users more likely to voluntarily engage with this type of ads. Interestingly, while native ads don’t aggressively jump out from the environment they are placed in, according to a survey done by Sharethrough, users are 52% more likely to notice native ads than banners. We suspect there’s a little bit of reverse psychology at work right there, which makes the audience more open to ads that are not so obviously trying to make them buy stuff.

2. Valuable content. But what makes the content of your ads so valuable and attractive to your intended audiences? Know what they are looking for! Well, at first glance it may not look very simple, of course. It helps to break your target group down to smaller segments, define their needs and characteristics and think about what they might be searching for online – what is the problem they are trying to find a solution for? Remember that it’s always about the audience, and less about the company and product that is being advertised. The benefit of sacrificing talking ABOUT YOURSELF and instead talking TO THE AUDIENCE? 82% increase in brand lift, according to Forbes.

3. Choose the technology that lets you be where your audience is. It’s a question of the technical capabilities of the advertising platform you choose to work with. The more effective and advanced the targeting options, the more in context your campaign is served. This can be achieved with solutions that employ machine learning and quality prediction algorithms that enable highly precise targeting. To simplify, if the platform has built its targeting solutions on bleeding edge tech, the more likely they are to reach segments of the intended audience that are already open to engaging with your product or content, based on their behaviour. Advertising that relies on machine learning basically makes the user, who sees the ad, feel like it’s meant personally for them, and that’s ultimately what every advertiser is looking for, isn’t it?

So, you might be wondering where Adcash factors into this magic recipe of advertising? We’re the secret sauce, of course! In all seriousness, though, we have the largest selection of targeting options currently available in the industry. Not to mention that we run highly refined prediction algorithms that allow us to place ads within context that makes sense.

We’ve also put together a handy table comparing the main native advertising platforms that currently lead the industry. Check it out and see who has the best features** to distribute your valuable content to the waiting audiences!

* Read more about this prediction as well as other interesting statistics in this blog post.
** There’s more information about the Adcash native technical specifications in this article.

Introducing the V2 of Adcash native ads!

Introducing the V2 of Adcash native ads!

We started developing the new and improved Adcash native ad format last year and even talked about its technological superiority. However, we are always pushing for improvement and innovation, which is why we’d now like to introduce the updated V2 of the Adcash native!

We’ve rolled out some updates on our native format, which will, no doubt, not only please our existing partners that have already adopted the native as an integral part of their business strategy, but also all newcomers. Not to mention publishers and advertisers alike.

The updates are specifically designed to increase engagement and conversions and, of course, produce more revenue. In a nutshell, the most important update for publishers is about the increased and super flexible customization options. Advertisers can push for higher engagement through advanced targeting and tailor-made promotions.

But let’s talk details!

Updates for publishers:

  • Super flexible template that can be fully customized to adjust to website layout. Elements to customize: image ratio, fonts, colours, borders (colours, width), widget title and more.
  • Full control over ad count displayed in either rows or columns.
  • Contextual targeting and ad serving for higher engagement.
  • To make integration even more easier and hassle-free, you can now download scripts as .txt files.

Updates for advertisers:

  • Multiple image ratios supported and the minimum image size increased to 600x500px. This enables you to promote your content in high definition.
  • Text allowance was also increased: the max length now is 100 characters to give more weight to that bit of content as well.
  • Dynamic macros that allow the tailoring of content to be more specific and targeted for their audience.
  • The most advanced targeting features in the industry. (Really! It’s true! 😄)

But don’t just take our word for it. We’ve collected all the info about the biggest native networks for you to conveniently compare:

The data exhibited in this table is gathered from publicly available sources.

It’s hard to believe that something so effective can actually be so easy. That is, however, the Adcash reality. It’s actually pretty difficult to put into words just HOW effective our native format is. At the same time, native campaign creation on our platform is simple and intuitive (tip: there’s also an interactive guide right on the platform itself). Also for publishers, creating a zone is just so easy, even with all the widget customization options available!

As we all know, seeing is believing, so don’t waste your valuable advertising time. Choose your partner wisely and we invite you to try out our updated native for yourself to see just how effective its earning power really is!

Ready to fight the Chrome adblocker?

Ready to fight the Chrome adblocker?

We recently discussed the Google Chrome built-in adblocker feature. As we all know, the update initial Chrome update will come into effect on January 23rd with the built-in adblocker fully in place on February 15th. We’ve put some serious research into this and we want you to know that you can fully trust us to fight for you with the best solutions for both, our publishers as well as advertisers.

Here’s what we know

Ads will be affected on sites that are blacklisted either by the Abusive Experiences report, which will be put into play starting from January 23rd or the Better Ads standards. So far it’s clear that Abusive Experiences will prevent, for example, opening new tabs and windows, while the Better Ads standards restrict advertisements that can be intrusive or annoying for the user experience. Although ads that do not comply with the Google Chrome guidelines will be blocked, Google will notify publishers itself as well if what they display is considered unsuitable.

What next?

Publishers can use this tool to check if they’ve been affected and if their sites have been blacklisted by either of the lists. You can keep an eye on the live deployment of the Chrome releases here. However, we also suggest you start taking action. If you have a publisher account with Adcash and you find your sites blacklisted, contact your account manager or our support team and we’ll personally help you get your earnings back up. If you’ve not been blacklisted – good! – but we suggest you use our ads exclusively. We believe this way there’s a greater chance you won’t be blocked in the future.

In any case – whether you’re already a publisher with Adcash or not yet – we can assure you that we’ll have the best and stable solutions to help you protect yourself and continue serving ads successfully.

If you have any questions or need help on this matter, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

How to prepare for the Google Chrome adblocker

How to prepare for the Google Chrome adblocker

There’s a Chrome update coming in 2018 that we cannot help but condemn. It’s dangerously blurring the lines between what we see as legal and illegal. We need to ask is it a fair competition if the giants amongst themselves are creating policies that favour themselves?

We’re talking, of course, about the adblocker feature that will come into action February 15, 2018. Our tech team has given this some serious thought and here’s some useful insight from them what the update means and how to work with it.

Trust?

We live in a world of trust. We trust our mail couriers not to open our mail before it arrives, we also trust the courier not to change anything inside our letters before they are delivered to us. The browsers and service providers we use know a lot of information about us and our behaviour. Naturally we place the same kind of trust in them to not regulate our behaviour or restrict our access to information. However, when your browser or ISP starts making decisions for you about what content you are allowed to see and what not, where is the trust?

At Adcash we believe that browsers should be independent, they should respect and align with the same standards as the ones defined by the W3C. Online advertising is very concentrated, 77% of a dollar in this industry goes to Google (Google Search, Browser, Android) or Facebook (Social Network, Browser, Messenger).
ad networks
Source WSJ
This situation also has another name – a cartel. After all what do you call an organized way of increasing collective profits by restricting other players? It’s hard to trust that this regulating happens on fair grounds.

The changes

Adcash has been in this business already for more than 10 years and we are continuously investing in developing and supporting our publisher partnerships. Which is why it’s especially sad to say that as a publisher you may have already received a warning (in your Google Search Console) that your ads could be blocked with the next Google Chrome update. It will by default block the ads of publishers that don’t comply with the BetterAds standards (initiated by Google).

It’s also important to keep in mind that Chrome contributes visitors on a large scale – out of the visitors that we receive to Adcash websites, Chrome represents up to 65% of them. It’s effect on your future revenues should not be underestimated.

This is not something that will only affect small publishers. Forbes and the Los Angeles Times, for example, received both a “failing” status from the Ad Experience Report. Other high-profile sites that have received warnings include CBS News, Kiplinger, Lifehacker, and Independent UK.

So what next?

Google Chrome 64 will be released on January 23, 2018. The adblocker update, which is based on a blacklist of publisher domains that is updated via SafeBrowsing, will come into action starting from February 15, 2018. The good news is, however, that you don’t need to wait that long to know how your website will look like. We have some great tools that you can use to check your sites. Publishers can check if their websites are blacklisted by Google Chrome here. Don’t forget, once a site is blacklisted, all ads on it regardless of format will be blocked in Chrome.

You can also enable a secret feature inside Google Chrome to unlock the new adblocker:

1) Install Google Chrome Canary

2) Launch Chrome with parameter:
–enable-features=’SubresourceFilter,SubresourceFilterExperimentalUI,AbusiveExperienceEnforce’

On MacOS:
open -a Google\ Chrome\ Canary –args –enable-features=’SubresourceFilter,SubresourceFilterExperimentalUI,AbusiveExperienceEnforce’

On Windows:
chrome.exe –enable-features=’SubresourceFilter,SubresourceFilterExperimentalUI,AbusiveExperienceEnforce’

3) Go to chrome://settings/content/ads
Switch “Ads” to off (it should be gray, and show that Ads are blocked)

4) Open a new tab, go to top right menu, select “More Tools”, then “Developer Tools”

5) Go to the settings of the Developer Tools (it’s in the top right menu of the Developer Tools) and tick
“Force ad blocking on this site”

Adcash is one of the largest independent internet companies in the market today and we are fully committed to an open internet, where everyone has equal opportunities for business. We hope that seeing a glimpse of the future version of Chrome will help you prepare for the changes yet to come and stay ahead of the game. We will continue to support our publishers and advertisers. Rest assured, should the darkest scenario materialize, we will still find a way to counter attack and bypass all interferences from any browser.

To continue this fight for fair and open online advertising, we are leading a new counter-movement that has brought together other internet companies that are in a similar position to us. Keep an eye on our blog here to always have the freshest information!

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