GroupM: Marketers Ignore AI At Their Peril; Ad Fraud On The Wane

GroupM has released its annual Interaction report that outlines what the firm sees at the state of digital marketing and key issues and trends facing marketers during the coming year.

The report, authored by Global Chief Digital Officer Rob Norman, touches on numerous topics, including the impact of artificial intelligence, virtual reality technology, marketplace integrity and the tumultuous geopolitical scene and its implications.

“It’s impossible to ignore the political events of 2016,” per the report. “The U.S. presidential election, the Brexit vote in Europe, the Italian referendum, the failed coup in Turkey and the tragic events in Syria touch lives and by extension economies, markets and marketing.



"2017 promises to be as tumultuous. Elections in France and Germany and other events may affect the European Union at its core.”

The big message from the electorate, the report surmises, is that “the uneven distribution of wealth is simply unfair and that for many opportunity is fantasy. Some 70% of the world’s population live on less than $10 per day. 38% of all Americans eligible to vote live on less than $55 per day…

"More innovation should produce different innovation. Innovation for the less advantaged in terms of function and value of products and services is every bit as important as VR headsets and the world of wonders.”

Artificial intelligence is becoming inextricably entwined in brand storytelling, per the report. "As [AI] becomes part of the taxonomy of the structured and unstructured story around the brand, its purpose, origin and the conversation it creates will become part of the consumer experience. It had better be a good one.”

Citing an example of what may come to be a typical part of the everyday shopping routine, the report notes the growing impact of devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Google Home.

“Imagine this: “Alexa, what’s the most recommended anti-dandruff shampoo?” Or this: “You ordered Brand A, Brand B has a higher average recommendation, which one would you like?’”

The report surmises there’s been meaningful progress in the battle against ad fraud.

“Instances of ad fraud have not gone away, but we believe it is significantly contained,” it states. The report notes that 2% of impressions purchased by the biggest advertisers in Western markets remain non-human. That’s not zero, which would be ideal, but it’s much better than the 30% that was estimated just three years ago.

“The speed of detection and countermeasures seem to have caught and outpace the development of new fraud strategies.”

Ad blocking, however, remains an issue.

In part, the phenomenon is due to “invasive ad units and careless use of data,” although the report concludes that “surprisingly, the practice appears to have peaked.” There are two key reasons for that, per the report, including better advertising and the increased percentage of ads that are delivered in app environments that are closed to ad-blocking technology.

While that’s good news, “a piece of analysis remains undone. What is the immediate and longer term economic value of the ad blockers that do persist, and how does that translate into lost opportunity for the advertiser?”

GroupM describes this version of the report as a “preview edition,” written from a largely “Western perspective.” A comprehensive global version of the report is scheduled for release in April.



6 comments about "GroupM: Marketers Ignore AI At Their Peril; Ad Fraud On The Wane".
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  1. Augustine Fou from FouAnalytics, February 7, 2017 at 7:42 a.m.

    "Ad Fraud On The Wane?"  This perpetuates the false sense of security at a time when vigilance and action have never been more necessary. 

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 7, 2017 at 11:42 a.m.

    HA !

  3. Shailin Dhar from Method Media Intellgience, February 8, 2017 at 5:29 a.m.

    I question the reliability of the 2% number. 

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 8, 2017 at 8:34 a.m.

    That 2% fraud figure is pretty hard to believe, but the report claims that it applies only to "big" advertisers, such as those handled by "big" agencies. Even if we accept the 2% figure as accurate, it tells us nothing about the fraud rate for countless thousands of not so big advertisers serviced by less professional shops or making their own buys, especially those using programmatic systems and "ad networks" for mostly banner ads, as opposed to the biggies, who often negotiate directly with websites and rely more on video ad placements.

  5. Augustine Fou from FouAnalytics, February 8, 2017 at 9:18 a.m.

    Or... even more simply "good guys are simply detecting less than they used to be" (because bad guys have tuned their bots to better evade detection.)  

    Note the Methbot revelation from end of 2016 is a great case example.  It was making money hand over fist for years, while remaining hidden.  There will be many more such "zero days" (which means it's the first time the good guys have seen/discovered it). 

  6. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, February 8, 2017 at 6:39 p.m.

    I'm stopped by the "report from GroupM" and "authored by Global Chief Digital Officer"...

    So, that makes it a sales tool. And given the horrifically inaccurate track record of breathless agency reports about digital this seems the ideal report to go instantly into the recycle bin.

    So the 2% fraud claim? Incredibly suspect - seems obviouis that GroupM has found their digital ad sales are suffering so THEY need it to be 2%. 

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