How Brands Can Protect Their Local Businesses from Ad Fraud

Ned Weingart Written by: Ned Weingart

In today’s digital economy, it is imperative that your brand is effectively marketing itself at the local level. Website ads, social media and SEO are all necessary strategies that can boost business and drive revenue. However, with the increased ease of marketing in the digital age, there also come increased risks. Ad fraud and other online scams can drain your co-op dollars and cripple your marketing strategy.

What is Ad Fraud?

Ad fraud, also known as invalid traffic, is the practice of falsely representing online advertising impressions, siphoning off ad revenue and funding from ad buyers and businesses. The most common forms of ad fraud include:

  1. SDK Spoofing (37%): When a fraudster gains access to a mobile app on a device with a real human user and copies the device’s data, showing websites that a real user viewed their ads when in reality they did not.
  2. Click Injection (27%): Click injections work in a similar way as SKD spoofing, except the app that a user downloads must be fraudulent before the download.
  3. Faked Installs (20%): When fraudsters gain access to a real mobile device via app download and use the device’s information to falsely inflate the number of downloads from markets like the App Store, making it seem like there is more user interest in your app than there really is. 
  4. Click Farming (16%): A simpler, but still problematic, form of ad fraud, click spam occurs when humans are hired to, or bots are programmed to, sift through the web and spend an inordinate amount of time clicking on ads, generating false impressions that can mislead your business’ metrics.

 Why it’s Time to Take Action

The statistics are harrowing. It is projected that advertisers will lose $16.4 billion to ad fraud across the world in 2018. Fraud rates have increased 100% since 2017 and will only increase as the mobile advertising industry explodes, projected to be a $57 billion industry in 2018. In 2014, on average, businesses saw anywhere from 2%-22% ad fraud on their advertising impressions. This average grew to 3%-33% in 2015 and some businesses reported rates as high as 80% in certain sectors. As local marketing budgets get tighter and co-op dollars from your corporate brand flow to the local level, it is important to maximize these funds to effectively market your business, especially to avoid wasting these precious marketing dollars on spammers. Spending on local marketing is projected to approach $76 billion nationwide by 2021. How your business prepares itself now will determine whether those funds lead to greater success for your brand, or if they’ll line the pockets of black hat internet fraudsters.

Incorporating an Ad Fraud Strategy in Your Local Marketing Plans

According to Jason Tabeling, BrandMuscle’s Executive Vice President of Performance Marketing, security is an important part of crafting your marketing solutions, and another reason why BrandMuscle is seen as an industry leader:

“Ad fraud monitoring and ad viability are both important pieces to BrandMuscle’s strategy to be on the forefront of precision marketing solutions, allowing us to more efficiently and effectively help our clients reach their business goals,” said Tabeling.  “We strive to offer the most secure and efficient way to market your brand at the local level while also giving you the peace of mind that your co-op dollars aren’t going to waste.”

BrandMuscle’s solutions have security measures that meet or exceed all industry security standards and utilizes the same security processes used by Google, Facebook and other major ad buyers.

 These processes are approved by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), Network Advertising Initiative, (NAI), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), all organizations committed to improving the security of digital advertising. For clients that want extra peace of mind, BrandMuscle works with Integral Ad Science (IAS) a leading cyber security and technology firm. IAS detects for ad fraud and measures verification of your ads down to the impression, making sure your ads are seen by real people, not bots or click farmers.

Interested in learning more about BrandMuscle’s digital offerings? Contact us today!

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