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Advertising Fraud – A Practice that Might be Hurting your Business

Advertising Fraud – A Practice that Might be Hurting your Business

There are many people in the industry who think they are way smarter and much better than someone else and get that extra buck from the people. Yes, we are talking about Ad Fraud which is one the most poignants examples of fraud in every industry.

We can see many programmatic advertising scams these days with most significant problems in the ad tech industry. As per the latest reports every $1 out $3 on online advertising is snatched by the fraudsters. In the year 2017 the fraudsters were able to make $16 billion worth of damages. And $20 billion worth of damages in 2018 and yes these are some crazy figures. There are a few solutions to detect the frauds, but the fraudsters were able to evolve & were able to scratch the money. Let us dive deeper and understand it in a much better way.

What is Advertising Fraud?

A digital advertising fraud is a deliberate, malicious activity that changes with the delivery of ad content and prevents its serving to the targeted audience. Usually it is done by the bots and the other software programs that carry out the real advertising fraud.

Ads attracts fraudsters with its money figures. They just think about one thing which is payouts are more enormous and the penalties are limited. It’s something that these fraudsters have stolen from you, it’s just money who spent it the wrong way. But still it is a fraud. These digital advertising scams operate on multiple levels. These frauds can manipulate with traffic on your site and other sophisticated things, and even on conversions as well as imitation of user activity. We all know that numbers and results are everything and these frauds can really affect important aspects like traffic, bounce rates, impressions, conversions, etc. 

What Drives Ad Fraud?

It’s really important to understand what drives the fraudsters with these intentions to perform these frauds because it will tell us about counter programmatic advertising scam. The first type of scam is when a criminal intends to feed off your operation, it constantly sucks your resources and can be stuck with your ads for very long. It is a form of pickpocketing in the realm of ones and zeroes.

In the second type of fraud the competitors disrupt your marketing operations in order to damage your business proceedings. Yes, it is the most dangerous and destructive for any company. 

How Scams affect Digital Advertising?

Mostly financial gain is one of the main reasons for these scams, but sometimes it affects more than that. It affects Digital Advertising too and that affects critical decisions regarding the proceedings of the campaign. These strategies might be useful in a normal situation, but the presence of these malicious frauds dilutes its effect. 

Common Types of Ad Frauds

Cookie Stuffing

It is one of the most common types of Ad Fraud and it is used for affiliate marketing schemes. It dilutes audience’s information and messes up with the results of an entire campaign. It is common because it gives results and you think everything is perfectly fine and keep on doing what you’ve been doing.

If it’s look at its functionality then it is the vital element in tracking the user’s journey from affiliate to the central sites. So whenever a user comes and clicks on an affiliate site, the cookie exchange happens. The cookie stuffing pads out the stats and makes the source site pay more while gaining less.

Traffic Fraud

Traffic brings in leads which in return generates revenue, and traffic is one thing that can be easily imitated, and can trick the analytics that everything is working fine. It is one the easiest to implement as well as detect.

Click Fraud

Cost-per-click is usually used for digital advertising. And it is also the easiest thing to get through. Ad Click fraud inflates the number of clicks of CPC ads and presents another picture on the ad activity. In this fraud you can see the number of the clicks are there but the results of those clicks are not. You can easily crack this fraud by checking the reports of IP addresses, clicking timestamps, action timestamps and user agents.

Action Fraud

The action fraud not only plays with traffic but it also rigs the stuff that makes money moving. It is designed to imitate meaningful user activity. Action fraud is very dangerous and can affect the position of the website for a big time.

Conversion Fraud

Conversion can cost you a lot if you don’t take it seriously. This fraud includes bots which write a couple of scripts and is used to train bot to perform simple actions. One of the ways is to manipulate people to fill in forms with some sort of information or convincing you to click on a link or even download files. Such things can easily harm CRM.

Retargeting Fraud

It is one of the most effective types of digital advertising fraud as it can be easily used with misleading information. The ad frauds use bots to find out the user behaviour in a couple of specific scenarios. Because of which the bots don’t get caught on the website and in the meantime the bots perform actions that qualify them as leads. Since you can’t do anything about it, it turns a waste of money and effort from your side as fraudsters are using your leads to get more business.

Affiliate Fraud

Affiliate model is one of the most common in digital marketing as it works as a regular operation that infuriates the stats and bloats the charge. It usually uses the most common way which is cookie stuffing, instead of normal cookie exchange, affiliate sites  fill the user’s computer with loads of false flag signals and that affiliate claims his cut. However, it is easy to detect this fraud and neutralise it before it can do any damage.

Ad Fraud Detection & Prevention Methods

Sometimes it can be very difficult to find ad frauds and the worst thing is you can’t even reverse its effects. And once the damage is done then damages can be worse and affect your business for a very long time. So you need to find every single step that can help you prevent these ad frauds. There are four major types of Ad Fraud prevention techniques to look out for.

Signature Based

Well whenever there is any ad fraud bots are on the site or page then they’ll surely work in an unusual way. They usually follow a set of patterns and with signature based patterns you can detect these suspicious actions. Signature based methods usually monitor activity & determination whenever find something suspicious and move further with investigation. So, a fraudulent activity can be shut off before any damages are done.

Credential Based

This method uses techniques like reverse crawling, checking of content and its tagging to determine the possibilities of fraud activities. After the implementation of these techniques it performs comparison with requirements for impressions. If things are not in the favour you’ll know there might be any fraudulent activities.

Honeypot Based

Bluffing is a great way to expose the fraudsters. The bots usually use special scripts and same steps to follow till they find a way to find the leads. A honeypot is an additional field in the form that is not seen by the users due to a special script. But bot don’t know that, apparently they fill the field and bust themselves.  

IP Blocking

Once the fraudulent activities are exposed now you need to block the source & it can be done by blocking its IP and will limit the fraudster to reach. It’s good to create a list of blacklisted IPs and compare it with the available blacklist so you have an idea which ones are suspicious IP’s.

Ad frauds are becoming more and more common these days as they can easily run over the thousands of advertising sites and have loads of leads. We hope you will be able to tackle these problems and solutions that limit the influence of the fraudsters so they can’t damage the publishers and your business or your client’s business.

Read More: VerveLogic


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