Globally, ad fraud costs marketers an estimated USD$7.6 billion every year. Click fraud, where the Pay Per Click advertising model is exploited by computer programs that click display ads, is one of the most common forms of online fraud.
Ad fraud creates challenges relating to return on investment, ambiguity on campaign performance and substantial losses of marketing budget.
Despite the challenges display advertising can effectively engage potential customers and help to grow your business - our own advertising effectiveness research clearly shows that display advertising is very effective in delivering to campaign goals.
Unfortunately, Kiwis aren’t immune to click fraud so you need to know how to keep your
digital advertising safe.
Understand the power of your campaign reports and analytics
Data and analytics are a powerful way to understand how your potential customers are interacting with your advertising and also provide useful insights to help identify and combat ad fraud.
Regularly review and analyse your advertising campaign data and analytics for anything out of the ordinary across advertising networks or exchanges.
Keep an eye out for:
- Unusually high spikes in click through rates from particular sites, often coupled with unusually low conversion rates in comparison to other activity you’re running
- High CTRs from ads with very low viewability
- Look out for a single visitor that seems to trigger a lot of ad calls
Another good starting point is your site analytics - it’s extremely important to make sure your ads are tagged correctly, so you can easily identify paid vs organic traffic in your analytics tools and review how good the traffic you’re getting from your ad exchange actually is.
The next step is to look at advertising referrals and pay close attention to domain names tol help weed out any suspicious activity.
For example, keep an eye out for websites that look similar to these:
And beware of URLs that look familiar at first glance but have a misspelling or different prefix or suffix. You would never see a URL like the following from a premium website: editors.pick2030.stuff.co.nz
Use customer centric marketing
One of the best ways to combat ad fraud is to remove it from the equation by speaking directly to your target audience.
Google Adwords and search engine optimisation will drive people to your website when they search relevant topics on Google and social media advertising (such as Facebook or Neighbourly) let’s you target by interest, demographics or region.
Nevertheless, it pays to be aware of what you’re paying for so you can get the most out of your advertising because the social media giants, which depend on content created by their users to attract people to their websites, are able to make can make claims about metrics and analytics without verification of quality or truthfulness from independent measuring services Nielsen and Comscore. This lack of accountability means you may not be getting what you’re promised.
Use Premium advertising providers
Nielsen and Comscore are independent companies that measure engagement rates in a transparent process that all premium New Zealand sites (including Stuff, TVNZ, MediaWorks and NZ Herald and others) adhere to.
Websites, and ad networks, most likely to commit ad fraud are those that are solely incentivised to generate as much revenue as possible, as quickly as possible.
Premium environments (such as Stuff, the NZ Herald, TVNZ and MediaWorks) are incentivised to create content that engages New Zealanders in order to build strong relationships with consumers and so offer advertisers quality, engaged audiences.
Having diverse advertising revenue streams (e.g. offering sponsored content and native advertising) means premium environments need to maintain high quality content and strong integrity, thus removing the incentivisation of ad fraud because a premium environment partaking in ad fraud risks losing its advertisers.
Premium environments also have to be transparent about the capabilities of their advertising reach and this transparency is measured by Nielsen and Comscore, independent companies that measure engagement.
In New Zealand the best place to purchase premium local websites at scale is through KPEX.
Know where your advertising is going
Ultimately, it’s up to you to know where your ads are being served and what kind of content those ads are supporting.
Agencies and exchanges can make guarantees but it’s important that you really understand where your budget is being spent. How much of it is going to premium sites? If it’s not going to premium sites, where are your ads ending up? Find out what ad fraud identification and protection is in place as part of your media planning process and agency buys.
Once you know the answers to those questions you can optimise your campaign targeting and use customer centric advertising and premium exchanges to increase your ROI and engage with higher quality audiences that care about your brand.