Commentary

Ad Fraud To Increase With End-Of-Year Budget Dumps, Data Shows

More consumers will go online to search for the perfect gift to give loved ones and friends this holiday season, with marketers looking to tap that audience by increasing ad spend.

That end-of-year budget dump in spending will prompt ad fraud to reach its peak during the same time, warns cybersecurity company White Ops. Its paper, “5 Ways to Protect Against the Q4 Ad Fraud Surge,” predicts that up to $3.5 billion could be lost to advertising fraud as the industry tries to fill peak holiday demand.

The paper says advertisers need to demand transparency and data.

White Ops reports fraud during the holiday season could potentially allow cybercriminals to collect more than 50% of their payout in the fourth quarter of 2017. The total of ad fraud losses for 2017 is estimated to reach $6.5 billion.

The report explores the increase in ad spend and in malicious bots during the holiday season, identifying the impact of these losses during the short yet critical time frame.

Cybercriminals, as the report puts it, sell bot traffic. As spending increases, more publishers turn to pay-per-click traffic to get site visitors to serve more ads, thus increasing the demand for bot traffic.

This is also the best time for traffic spoofing operations to see their fill rates rise.

A White Ops analysis found ad fraud spiked to 13.5% last year between October and January, more than double the prior quarter. Peak periods include Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It is estimated that advertisers lost an estimated $3.1 billion during the 2016 holiday season.

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