The war on fraud is not going well, according to a new study. Advertisers are expected to lose an estimated $7.2 billion globally this year as a result of fraudulent impressions, or bots, according to the study, conducted by the Association of National Advertisers and White Ops, the online advertising fraud tracker. (Other studies have come up with similar estimates.)
There has been little recent progress in curbing bot fraud — the study found that fraud levels are relatively unchanged compared to a year ago.
Forty-nine ANA member companies participated in the 2015 Bot Baseline Study. Those participants deployed White Ops detection tags on their digital advertising to measure bot fraud. Data was collected from nearly 10 billion online advertising impressions across 1,300 campaigns over 61 days, from August 1 through September 30, 2015.
Key findings from the report include:
Campaigns targeting certain demographics, or retargeting potential customers, typically resulted in more bots. For example, programmatic buys with Hispanic targeting were nearly twice as likely to encounter bot traffic than non-Hispanic targeted media.
“The level of criminal, non-human traffic literally robbing marketers’ brand-building investments is a travesty,” said Bob Liodice, ANA president and CEO. “The staggering financial losses and the lack of real, tangible progress at mitigating fraud highlights the importance of the industry’s Trustworthy Accountability Group in fighting this war.”
The Trustworthy Accountability Group, known as TAG, was established in November of 2014 by the IAB, the 4As, and the ANA. It’s a joint marketing-media industry program designed to eradicate digital advertising fraud, malware, ad-supported piracy, and other deficiencies in the digital communications supply chain.
Liodice added that the ongoing fraud problem “underscores the need for the entire marketing ecosystem to manage their media investments with far greater discipline and control against a backdrop of increasingly sophisticated fraudsters.”
White Ops CEO Michael Tiffany said that while parts of the industry have taken effective steps to combat bot fraud, “we are still facing an uphill battle to achieve broad acceptance of the need for deeper focus on the fraud problem, and ultimately to reverse these financial trends.”
In addition to supporting TAG, the study recommends several steps that industry players should take. They include:
More on the study can be found here.