Click Fraud Costs Marketers $11B, IAB Issues Key Report

The Interactive Advertising Bureau on Thursday announced its latest attack on click fraud, which has never been a bigger threat to the industry. 

Led by its Traffic of Good Intent Task Force, the IAB issued the final version of its click fraud best practices today. The document analyzes robotic traffic, or “bots,” and other forms of online traffic fraud that can damage marketers’ campaigns by producing illegitimate impressions and skewing audience data.

The best practices, titled “Traffic Fraud: Reducing Risk to Exposure,” then provides recommendations that publishers, networks and buyers can use to mitigate these risks.

And the effort couldn’t come soon enough, according to Steve Sullivan, vice president of advertising technology at the IAB.

“It is currently getting worse, despite the efforts of security, brand safety and other market players, because not all sellers and buyers are able to and/or willing to be in lock step as we move down a path to filtering fraud,” Sullivan recently told Media Daily News.

“In other words, the incentives from the buy side are to achieve reach as cheaply as possible … Therefore, if one seller blocks all fraud, then the buyer will go to the seller who does not block fraud so they can achieve their target scale.”

This year, click fraud is on track to cost marketers $11.6 billion in advertising -- up 22% from 2013 -- according to survey findings released earlier this week by Solve Media.

“Many believe that the industry has seen rapid growth in traffic fraud over the last couple of years, approaching 23% to 50% of all digital transactions, depending on whose report you read,” Sullivan notes.

“There is speculation that given the focus on the large dollars found in the video marketplace, this translates to a minimum of $6 billion to $7 billion a year wasted on fraud.”

The IAB isn’t the only industry leader taking on bad advertising. Last year, Google said it disabled 2 million bad ads; banned 14,000 advertisers for selling counterfeit goods; halted ad-serving on tens of thousands of sites, disabled more than 5,000 AdSense accounts for violations of copyright policy; disabled 400,000 sites from hiding malware; and disabled 10,000 sites from promoting get-rich-quick schemes.

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