Digital ad fraud is something that all advertisers deal with daily. So, how can you protect yourself from it? We decided to learn from our in-house experts and find out what exactly Adcash is doing to prevent it.
It’s no news that digital ads’ usage is growing year by year, soon overtaking other advertising channels. That’s also supported by the fact that the digital advertising market revenue reached over $250 billion in 2018 (Statista). All of this isn’t surprising considering how much time people spend online, logically, it’s the best place where to reach them. So, it seems there’s no stopping of the digital ad bandwagon… or is there?
People constantly find more creative ways to deliver ads to every one of us but at the same time, the ad fraud percentage keeps growing as well. About $20 billion is lost to ad fraud each year (Digiday), making it a force to be reckoned with. As always, with the birth of new solutions, come the inventions that try to cheat them. Clearcode made a good point about the fact that if the digital ad spend continues to grow, so will the ad fraud since ad fraudsters follow the money.
So, what does advertising fraud look like? It’s usually about creating fake ad impressions, clicks or any type of conversions, showing ads outside of a consumer’s view or using other fabricated methods to deliver ads that aren’t seen by real users.
Maxime Chevallon, our COO, and Marja Kiisverk, our Product Manager will talk about what Adcash is doing to fight the ad fraud and what’s different about our anti-fraud technology.
How is Adcash fighting ad fraud?
Adcash doesn’t work with any third party solutions, we take care of all the fraud detection and filtering in-house. Our dedicated Fraud team has been active for more than 5 years and spends time investigating and also constantly analyzing the data. We look for anomalies and things that don’t make sense or look too good. Normally, when some results look too good, we conduct additional checks, as most of the times those results aren’t real.
Our Fraud team identifies fraudulent patterns which we filter out. Some of them are widely known, i.e. traffic from data centers. In addition, bot traffic is another popular source of fraud for which we’ve built our own bot traps. Apart from that, we detect different anomalies and combining that with a scoring system, we see whether we’re dealing with fraud or not. Fraudulent cases will be tackled reactively then and there and proactive measures will be taken in the long run to prevent it from happening again.
We conduct in-house experiments to improve our fraud detection skills. Fraud prevention combines data analyses from one side and creativity from the other side. We allocate time to experiment and test the data so we could be ahead of the market trends.
In 2018, Adcash…
⚡ Helped advertisers save 11,8M USD
⚡ Filtered out up to 2,15B impressions per month
⚡ Blocked up to 27% of ad requests
Since Adcash offers advertisers many different payout types, we filter out impression, click and conversion/performance types of fraud to protect our advertisers from inflated costs. In addition to that, we also put in the same amount of work in detecting and filtering out fraud on the desktop and mobile devices. And we also take measures to fight fraud across all ad formats. In Q1 of 2019, we’re putting special focus on Native ads and improving our fraud filters for that format.
Adcash takes serious action against fraud and blocks users when they are generating fraudulent earnings. It doesn’t matter whether we deal with a big and very profitable publisher or a small one – we take out all fraudsters. We’re not afraid of impacting our revenue in the short-term by blocking fraudulent publishers because we wish to protect our advertisers.
Indeed, protecting our advertisers from devious publishers means protecting legitimate publishers. Fraud isn’t only having an impact on advertisers, whose costs are inflated by it, but it also pushes the market’s eCPMs down, as the market’s fraudulent traffic amount has grown from 5% to 50%. Thus, you need to be able to separate the good from the bad.
The better we are at tackling ad fraud, the higher budgets and payouts we’ll get from our advertisers, allowing publishers, who provide a real audience, to get paid accordingly. With that, we’re creating trust, since advertisers know that with those impressions, our impressions, they will have less fraud than with someone else.
What is our special weapon in the fight against ad fraud?
Being a DSP, our aim is to make both types of customers happy, advertisers and publishers. Advertisers are happy when their ROI is high, while fraud is the biggest reason for an advertiser to lose money. Thus, we’ve developed cutting-edge anti-fraud technology to keep our customers satisfied. After all, the success of a publisher depends on the success of an advertiser.
Developing anti-fraud solutions and conducting fraud detection activities in-house gives us more visibility and control over the situation, which in the end gives us a bigger opportunity to help our clients. We’ll continue investing in our own team for them to become even better in fighting against fraud because we see a much bigger benefit in that.
The Fraud team uses our advertisers’ feedback to help us identify new fraud patterns. Thus, it is very important to us that advertisers get in touch with us when they’re seeing fake traffic. Adcash takes these types of claims very seriously and we take action accordingly. We’re willing to refund advertisers if the traffic their ads receive is fraudulent.
Also, preventing fraud ourselves helps us to deal better with false positives. Indeed, the happiness of our publishers does rely on the happiness of our advertisers. Yet, we don’t want to overprotect advertisers and be too extreme on publishers. For example, any time we introduce a new filter we always start gathering data instead of filtering from day one. Basically, we have informative and reliable statistics that show how much our publishers are generating from that type of traffic which we believe is fraudulent. We then use that data and visibility we have to make sure that we don’t start filtering out impressions, clicks or conversions that are actually legit. This helps us protect our supply partners.
Before filtering out any fraudulent traffic, we do thorough background checks to make sure that no mistake will slip through. Since we have an in-house team, we can tackle these issues fast and efficiently. And reverse decisions will be also made fast if needed.
Tips for advertisers
Focus on CPA Target aka performance-based campaigns and measurable KPIs, as it’s then easier to spot fraudulent activities.
Remember that it’s all about collaboration. The moment you start seeing something too good or too bad, then you should either contact your manager or our Support team. For us, it’s all about customer satisfaction.
Tips for publishers
Publishers shouldn’t buy traffic from suspicious sources. It’s quite well known in the industry that publishers tend to buy traffic in order to be ranked higher in different lists due to their many visitors. Yet, this activity is still fraudulent and that small bit can make the whole network messy even though webmasters might not do it with bad intentions.
Be careful about your ad placements being prone to misclicks. We have often come across publishers who misplace an ad, especially with Native and Pop ad formats. This then causes confusion for users and doesn’t bring the required results.
To minimize the harm of fraudulent traffic, you should contact Adcash as soon as you notice something suspicious. That way we can tackle the issue straightaway and immediately help to save advertisers’ spendings that otherwise would be lost to fraud.