OMI Forbes Article | Date: 2023-11-07
Paula Chiocchi is CEO of Outward Media, Inc., a provider of 145MM B2BC contacts including email and digital IDs that drive business growth.
A staggering amount of ad spend is slipping through the cracks in digital marketing. This is occurring as every open, click and impression holds immense value for brands. Yet according to Juniper Research, as reported by Search Engine Land, it’s estimated that $84 billion of ad spend will be wasted due to ad fraud in 2023—and this number is expected to increase to $172 billion by 2028.
In my nearly two decades in the marketing data business, I’ve never seen a bigger threat to the integrity of the advertising industry.
Finding a solution starts with education and awareness.
So what constitutes ad fraud? It spans click and impression fraud, ad stacking, domain spoofing, the use of bots and more. It is caused by “bad actors,” such as cybercriminals and scammers. All of this translates into marketers paying for advertising that offers little to no value. The financial implications for brands are enormous. And that’s why you’d expect ad fraud to be a top priority for digital marketers, but my agency has actually found the opposite to be true.
We recently conducted research on digital display advertising, and we found that only 23% of the enterprise marketers we surveyed at companies with more than 500 employees are very concerned about ad fraud, and 14% are unconcerned. In addition, only 18% cited ad fraud and invalid traffic as the most significant digital display advertising challenge, placing it at the bottom of the list.
Enterprise marketers instead stated that their leading challenges are measuring accurate ROI and performance metrics and finding the right target audience for the ads. All of these important issues are actually negatively impacted by ad fraud. You’ll never be able to accurately measure campaign outcomes or target the right audience if your ad spend and impressions are being wasted on bots.
Why Aren’t More Marketers Worried?
One possible answer is the belief that agencies or platforms actively protect digital ad buys. In reality, ad fraud is pervasive and often overlooked—and must be actively combatted before it expands further.
Another reason could be the complexities surrounding ad fraud detection and prevention. This is a constantly evolving issue. There is a learning curve when it comes to knowing where to start or how to protect campaigns effectively.
4 Strategies For Fighting Ad Fraud
Getting back to the need for a solution, here are four strategies our team uses with clients to fight back against digital ad fraud:
Start With People-Based Data
Ensuring you are targeting and reaching real people is more critical than ever for marketers. People-based identity solutions, like identity graphs and third-party acquisition data, can ensure that actual people (not bots) are the ones behind the screen. My advice is to look for providers in these areas who will offer a validity guarantee for email data associated with digital marketing campaigns to ensure you target individuals with accuracy that extends all the way down to the device level, thereby connecting you with real people—and the right people.
Get A More Complete Prospect Profile With Multi-Source Data
Additional data like firmographics and technographics build upon people-based data solutions to capture a more complete profile of the contact. And when data is pulled from multiple sources, there are multiple accuracy checks to ensure your digital ads reach actual people—and, once again, the right people.
Use Deterministic Intent Data To Zero In On Top Prospects
Using deterministic intent data will give you a multipronged approach to targeting real people who are actively searching for what you offer. Deterministic intent insights are derived from the online actions and behavior of the people conducting the searches. Additionally, deterministic intent data methodologies ensure that your ad isn’t targeting the wrong prospect using a shared device in a household.
Make Media Activation More Transparent
To reduce ad fraud, you need transparency in the media activation process, whether it is performed by an agency or an in-house team. That means reliable performance measurement and reporting and ensuring that those measuring are fully aware of—and transparent about—bots and their impact on your results. Make sure that you can trust whoever is handling your media activation.
Ad fraud is an issue that simply can’t be ignored any longer. If you’re not worried about it, you should be, especially at a time when scrutiny around marketing budgets and campaign ROI is on the rise. Remember, every open, click and impression holds tremendous value. Make each one count.
At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.