3 Keys To Prevent Programmatic Ad Fraud

Programmatic advertising has leveled the playing field of digital marketing. Thanks to the auction environment of the real-time bidding (RTB) landscape, small and mid-sized agencies and marketers of all size and scope can leverage powerful and precise digital advertising tools.  

Naturally any new and massive market opportunity will also include several negative externalities. One of the biggest concerns of the entire programmatic landscape is the risk of fraud. While this risk is certainly real, there are plenty of steps advertisers can take to ensure they are buying high-quality ad placements. In doing so, marketers and their agency partners can maximize their programmatic results and drive efficient ROI. With that in mind, here are three key steps advertisers should take to prevent programmatic ad fraud.

Investigate your programmatic platforms block list. Inquire whether your programmatic platform and/or partner employs a global block list, and ensure that list is updated regularly to ban sites or supply vendors suspected of bot traffic. You might also have the option to upload a custom block list, or to block or bid lower for placements on sites you deem less desirable.

Request campaign data reports. Leverage all reporting options to make informed and proactive campaign decisions. Request detailed reports and analyze your Web traffic for any numbers that seem too good to be true (because they probably are). Accessibility to detailed, site-level placement reports for your campaigns is key to breaking down the lack of transparency that plagues the industry. Using third-party tracking tags can offer another layer of security and allow you to compare metrics against an objective and trusted source.

Leverage algorithms of third-party vendors. Use the power of third-party vendors that specialize in fraud detection and prevention.  These independent firms, including MOAT and Integral Ad Science, employ advanced technology and algorithms designed to reduce questionable traffic and thus maximize advertising performance.  In addition to fraud detection, many of these firms concurrently measure and optimize viewability and overall brand safety.  

Detecting and beating fraud will always be a moving target.  But with the utilization of currently available tools and best practices, smart players can outwit the fraudsters and ensure the health of this transformative medium, driving positive results for all programmatic advertisers.  

3 comments about "3 Keys To Prevent Programmatic Ad Fraud ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, March 22, 2016 at 9:29 a.m.

    Sensible points, Andrew, but shouldn't the ad sellers be doing most or all of this in the first place?If advertisers have to do all of the policing----unlike "legacy media"where the sellers more or less guarantee that you get what you bought----one wonders what the future will be like for digital advertising sales.

  2. Andrew Fischer from Choozle replied, March 22, 2016 at 3:16 p.m.

    Hi Ed - I think it's important for both the buy side and sell side to vigilantly combat and minimize ad fraud.  

    In our experience, reputable the sell side partners (aka publishers) employ many tactics and technologies to also combat fraud.  With high fraud levels, they will quickly be banned from the open exchange environment, and halt any programmatic revenue.  Publishers are incentivized, and CPMs will be correlated, with the quality of their content and traffic.  From our buy side purview, we only work with technology partners and ad exchanges that employ all the "sell side" precautions to absolutely minimize fraud exposure for all digital advertisers.  

  3. Chris Carter from AAM, March 23, 2016 at 12:44 p.m.

    The firms you cite are not independent.  An independent certifier is someone like E&Y, Deloitte or other MRC firm or us.

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