3 Ways to Protect Your Company Against Pervasive Ad Fraud

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3 Ways to Protect Your Company Against Pervasive Ad Fraud
Image credit: South_agency | Getty Images
Guest Writer
B2B Copywriter for E-Commerce Businesses at SuhaibMohammed.com
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What exactly is ad fraud?

Tech Target’s Margaret Rouse says ad fraud is a type of scam in which the perpetrator fools advertisers into paying for something that is worthless to them, such as fake traffic or ineffective ad placement. It’s a lethal rip-off in the digital advertising arena, and it's on the rise.

Advertisers will lose an estimated $19 billion to fraudulent activities in 2018 alone, according to a recent study by Juniper. It’s very easy for a get-rich-quick scammer to create a phony website, stuff it with keywords, and get the site to rank higher on Google. Then they can sell ads to advertisers for whom those keywords are relevant.

Related: 6 Sneaky Ways Your Competitors Are Keeping Ahead of You

The result? The scammer makes quick cash, and the advertiser gets nothing in return. It’s a lazy way to make money. That’s how the ad fraud techniques -- unabated -- are continuously putting thousands of online startups out of business.

You don’t want to be the next victim. That’s why this article offers you three ways to protect your company against ad fraud and take your business to the promised land. Let’s look at each technique closely.

1. Question the root source of your traffic.

One of the top ways that ad fraudsters swindle advertisers is through fake traffic. Even though there are many legitimate sources of traffic, such as paid search, you shouldn’t leave any stone unturned. You should question the root sources of your traffic when buying ads.

You should always build language insertion orders, as they demand publishers to identify all third-party traffic sources. Also, be sure to test your traffic sources to see how your inventory is being presented.

Here’s why: When Guardian ran a programmatic buying test against their domain last year, they discovered that 72 percent of their video ad spend was going to unauthorized exchanges and SSPs. The test helped the company know how much they were gaining and how much they were losing from their ad. And that saved them a lot.

You, too, should run buying tests. As you do, try to use third-party verification both for non-human traffic and invalid traffic to make sure you’re not being scammed. In addition, it would be great to work directly with advertisers. 

Related: How Bots Steal Your Online Advertising Budget

2. Work directly with advertisers.

The digital advertising world is getting scarier. The con publisher can hide beneath an unidentified IP address, use a fake Facebook profile or cover themselves under a fake email address. To ensure your advertising campaign is not rigged, don’t buy from publishers you can’t talk to. Instead, buy only from the publishers who are real people with real identities. Why? Because advertisers whose names are already tainted in the industry will do anything to hide their identities.

“In order to protect against ad fraud and get the best out of programmatic, we recommend that media buyers ideally work directly with trusted publishers or ensure at the very least ads.txt is a part of their open market strategy," said Brendan Cleary, the VP of programmatic sales and ad operations for Guardian US. "It is only through working together that we can uncover ad fraud and work towards a more effective and transparent digital ecosystem.”

But to double down on your security, incorporate AI into your security architecture. 

3. Bulletproof your company with AI.

Facebook is using its neural networks -- an AI empowered program -- to fight ad fraud. Google is using AI to fight ad fraud. You, too, should use AI to defend your company against ad fraud.

It’s simple and seamless. Among the many things that AI can do for you, it helps:

  • Filter fraudulent IP addresses
  • Clean spam bots, 
  • Monitor site traffic
  • Detect sophisticated click fraud

Platforms like NOIZChain use NIKOLA, an AI-powered cognitive bot, to sieve the fake data, detect spambots and prevent ad fraud. Whatever system or platform you choose, AI is the best protection mechanism that bulletproofs your company’s walls against ad fraud. Why? Its algorithm is capable of analyzing complex data, and its self-learning mode is effective to fight against ad scammers.

Related: How AI Is Addressing the Fraud in Advertising: Here's What You Need to Know

The bottom line.

In today’s digital age, securing your company is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. It’s as important -- if not more -- as investing in user experience, content marketing or customer acquisition.

As ad fraud continues to shatter thousands of online businesses, now is the time to be vigilant with your traffic sources, get to know and trust your advertisers before working with them, and use AI as a weapon to fight against ad fraud.

It’s not always simple, but you have to do it. Your company’s life depends on it.

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