3 Marketing ROI Killers and How to Fight Them, Part I: Ad Fraud

This is the first of a three-part series on how marketers can detect problems in their performance data and find solutions that optimize their marketing ROI. Read Part II on the need for constant audience testing, and Part III on why delayed insights are causing wasted ad spend.

In March DMN reported that $12 billion worth of ad spend may have been wasted on fraud in 2016. That’s about 20% of global digital advertising. In May, the Association of National Advertisers and bot detector White Ops predicted that things would get better. In a joint study, they estimated a 10% reduction in financial losses due to ad fraud for 2017: from $7.2 billion last year to $6.5 billion this year. Still, eMarketer points out that even as advertisers invent and adopt new ways to tackle fraud, fraudsters are also getting more sophisticated.


Aside from spending money on anti-fraud technology and staying informed on the different types of fraud out there, one of the best things you can do to tackle this issue is to become familiar with indicators in your performance data that may allude to a problem. Here are a couple things you can do:

Watch for inconsistencies and outliers in traffic data.

If a traffic source is providing high traffic with no conversions, you may be inclined to think that your creative or messaging is the problem. Then again, this may be a classic case of invalid traffic generated by bots. Checking for unusually high bounce rates from one source compared to your average is another way to detect fraud. It’s a good idea to do at least a weekly check for fraud indicators and develop enough familiarity with your data to know when something looks kooky.

With the increasing availability of A.I.-powered tools, doing regular monitoring is easier and more convenient. An A.I.-powered marketing intelligence platform helps by serving up automated visualizations that can easily highlight which trends are being affected by outliers or irregular data. You can then use that information to adjust your spending right away, or set up tests to determine the authenticity of a suspicious traffic source.

Get your media partners and agencies on the same page with a data sharing arrangement.

Publishers and agencies can just as easily fall prey to ad fraud as advertisers. To better combat ad fraud, all parties in the media supply chain should work together. Data sharing can be a sensitive issue, but all parties have a stake in marketing performance data, and should be able to see the same numbers so they can coordinate on strategic decisions.  

If you are using our marketing intelligence platform, it’s easy to share a single view of your performance data with permissioned access to specific tools within the solution. All relevant parties can see the data that is most relevant to their workflow, without having to wrangle spreadsheets and PowerPoints on email.

Also in this Marketing ROI Killers series:

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(Image by: Harini Venkataraman)

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