As if the existing warnings and statistics aren’t enough, comScore is now circulating a infographic that explains, by their analytics, the current state of ad blocking and ad fraud and adding some new exclamation points.
Bottom line: There’s a lot of fraud. There's a lot of blocking.
It says that men, 18 to 24 year-old, are twice as likely to block desktop ads than the average U.S. user; women in that bracket are men are “just” 42% more likely. That’s bad because that’s an age bracket advertisers want. The obvious, ominous extension of that statistic is that as these people age, they take their habits with them to the next demo bracket, while another bunch of young avoiders take their place.
What’s more, comScore analytics says higher income Americans use ad blockers 27% more often than people in other income groups.
But as it turns out, that’s not so alarming all by itself because comScore also says that worldwide, more than half of all ads don’t have a chance to be seen--it’s all spidery and full of bots that classify it as Sophisticated Invalid Traffic, or what, curiously is called IVT. This graphic report says that 80% of worldwide fraud was “sophisticated” as of December 2015, growing three times faster than the ordinary kind of phoniness.
In the U.S., 48% of desktop ads are actually viewable; counting only video ads, that figure drops to 41%. Only 38% of the seen ads are delivered programmatically; the rest are the result of direct sales.
As I’ve pointed out before, stats of all sorts should be taken with several shakers full of salt because comScore, like others reporting up and down stats of all sorts, is in the solutions business. In this case, it has its fraud-sniffers that are built into its audience verification for clients.
But whatever way an advertiser or publisher effectively fights fraud and blocking comScore reiterates common sense solutions, too.
Like, for ad blocking, try creating better advertising there’s a chance consumers can tolerate over the long haul. Duh! And for viewability problems, use publishers or delivery methods that actually prove the ads “have a chance to make an impact”--that is, that they are viewable. All of that is easier said than done, I guess, but invalid traffic and low viewability, as comScore says with some understatement, “can wreak havoc on campaign performance.”
Last year, comScore also pointed out that a cluster of bad actors seem to do most of the damage; 79% of campaigns have less than 5% non-human traffic, accounting for 25% of the total. But 14% of ad campaigns have phony traffic that has 5%-20% non-human traffic, 45% of the total, and 7% have non-human traffic of 20% or more. That’s another 30% of the total pie. That’s not exactly one bad apple, but it’s not the whole bushel of trouble, either.