Analytics company DoubleVerify claims “BeatSting,” is costing unprotected advertisers up to $1 million a month.
The software measurement platform calls BeatSting the first large-scale ad impression fraud scheme to target audio inventory. Double Verify says it’s the first time it’s found fraudsters using SSAI (server-side ad insertion) tactics to conduct large-scale impression fraud by falsifying traffic.
It works like this: Fraudsters generated fake audio traffic on streaming platforms by spoofing residential IP addresses and audio apps, then setting up fake SSAI servers to falsify audio ad requests. It appears as if the apps have users and inventory on which advertisers would want to bid.
These requests then go out to SSPs, ad exchanges and ad networks. If an advertiser wins a bid on this inventory through any of these platforms, their ad dollars are wasted.
Generic apps associated with the fraud scheme, per DV, include com.digigrad.jazzmusic, com.digitalsquadra.rockmusic, video.games.radio and com.snkdigital.bakaradio.
The DV Fraud Lab identified 60+ apps that participated in the fraud, associated with three main publishers. (The lab also says BeatSting originated as a single streaming TV scheme in 2019, which, to date, has cost unprotected advertisers $20 million.)
“Fraud always follows the money, and increasingly, that money is flowing to digital audio, a rapidly emerging channel where digital advertising standards are still evolving,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO at DoubleVerify. “CTV continues to experience this phenomenon and, increasingly, audio is quietly becoming a new channel of interest and attack.”
In Q2 2022, the DV Fraud Lab, comprised of data scientists, mathematicians and analysts, discovered a big increase in fraudulent activity targeting audio channels, with an uptick in January 2023. Once fraud is noted, protection for DV clients is updated in real time to mitigate the attack.