Magnetic Creates Initiative To Protect Brand Marketers From Fraud
Fraudulent impressions don't seem to get much attention these days -- not even after brand marketers realize they have plunked down huge sums to target "fake people." But a series of Magnetic road shows furthers the cause that Federated Media Founder John Battelle and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) began more than a year ago.
The Traffic of Good Intent initiative aims to identify and raise awareness of the issue of non-intentional traffic, as well as offer insights and recommendations on ways to correct the situation without giving away secrets learned from studies and tests. "Today, marketers can buy real or fraudulent people at the same price," said Magnetic CEO James Green. "Sometimes, you purchase a few hundred impressions before you find out you bought bad users."
As the working group finds ways to combat the problem, Green said it's unlikely the working group will publicize results. Brand marketers are still confused about the difference between ads not seen, yet well presented, and pixel stuffers or ad laundering where the ad clicks through to a site with illegal content. The latter is more "evil" than the former, Green said.
Widespread fraud poses a serious threat to the future of real-time bidding (RTB). Fraud in display can trigger a serious domino effect as wasted impressions and wasted ad dollars that extend from publishers to ad exchanges, and ultimately to agencies and brands. Skewed performance and insights, vast proportions of ads going unseen and huge percentages of wasted budgets collectively threaten the entire advertising industry.
Marketers need to recognize they have bought fraud, since most have, Green said. "But if you don't think you have then you have to work harder," he adds.
There are tools that
identify fraudulent impressions and the bots that visit legitimate Web sites, such as ESPN and CNN. They produce an ad impression on the page and get paid for it, but also visit illegitimate Web sites
that initialize an ad impression in real-time bidding -- that's how they steal money.
Magnetic held a discussion in Los Angeles last week with a panel of experts to discuss the meaning of viewability and the value that RTB, as well as how to combat fraud issues and discuss what the industry is doing to solve these challenges.