Ad Fraud concept illustration

What is Ad Fraud and How Can You Protect Your Brand?

In addition to credit card fraud and identity fraud, there’s a new kind of fraud to watch out for ad fraud. Digital ad fraud, also known as Invalid Traffic (IVT), is the practice of fraudulently representing (or falsely inflating) online ad metrics like impressions, clicks, conversions or actions in order to generate revenue. Digital bots, or nonhuman digital traffic, are the main cause of ad fraud, resulting in more than $7 billion in advertising investment waste.

How Does Ad Fraud Happen?

Ad fraud occurs when digital bots, or automated software, view and click on ads, creating fake traffic that results in large sums of wasted advertising dollars. Originally targeting online display ads, IVT has now evolved to become more sophisticated with the ability to infect mobile devices and apps. And with video playing a huge part in the digital marketing ecosystem, video inventory ad fraud is averaging around 12.03% 1.4x higher than other methods of digital advertising.

3 Signs of Ad Fraud

  • Poor on-site analytics such as higher bounce rates and shorter session durations, especially when comparing different platforms.
  • Abnormally high click-through rates (CTRs) for your industry. If you notice your CTR is well above industry benchmarks, check your analytics and work with your agency or publishing partners to determine the cause and a solution.
  • Suspicious site lists. You should always audit site-level reporting for any questionable sites.

Steps Towards Transparency

Steps are being taken to stop ad fraud. The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is a self-regulatory program that works with companies to eliminate fraudulent traffic and promote greater transparency in digital advertising.

Protect Your Advertising Investment

You can help prevent IVT, too. Designate a trained Brand Safety Officer to protect your brand from ad fraud and other criminal activity. Work with your agencies to establish a clear and consistent policy to measure fraud effectively. Choose TAG Certified Against Fraud partners and take a zero-tolerance policy against ad fraud.

Innovative takes this topic very seriously and partners with companies that are TAG approved or have rigorous measures in place to combat ad fraud. To see a full list of companies that have been awarded the TAG “Certified Against Fraud” seal, please visit the TAG website.

Laurie Mayeaux

Laurie Mayeaux
Digital Media Buyer