How to Identify, Report and Manage Ad Fraud (and Why It’s Important)

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There is purchased traffic, which is your standard pay-per-click advertising. There is also bot traffic, this is ad fraud.

The fight against advertising fraud, when it comes to e-commerce, is of the utmost importance. Why that? The total loss of $ 7.2 billion worldwide is estimated at $ 44 billion by 2022, according to Yes, you read that right, I said $ 44 billion.

So what exactly is ad fraud? It can also be called invalid traffic, or IVT for short. It’s the practice of misleading (fraudulently, of course) everything from online ad impressions, traffic to clicks, conversions, and revenue-generating data.

As a result of this ongoing pandemic, although many brick-and-mortar operations are now back in operation, e-commerce remains the main showcase for several online retailers. We like to say that your online store is your flagship store. And sometimes during the pandemic, it may have been your only store. The fact that your online store has so much more weight in serving your customers makes the fight against ad fraud even more vital.

Related: The growing risks of digital advertising and how brands are struggling

To do this, here’s how you can protect yourself and yourselves from the betrayals of ad fraud:

How to identify ad fraud

Let’s get started. First and foremost, you need to know how to identify ad fraud to get started. There are a total of five main forms when it comes to ad fraud. Next I will go into each of them.

  1. Human traffic is the most common when it comes to ad fraud. But unfortunately, human trafficking is also the most difficult to avoid and follow. In this particular case, the traffic comes essentially from humans. It comes from click farms, specifically, and the impressions it generates are false.
  2. Boat traffic it is sometimes called non-human traffic. It is characterized by false impressions made by robots in ads. In most cases, bot traffic is usually easier to spot and prevent some of the other types of ad fraud.
  3. Domain impersonation is another type of ad fraud. It happens when fraudsters find themselves as premium publishers who are in the process of buying ads.
  4. Stuffed with cookies occurs when a third-party scammer secretly places cookies, of course, in a user’s browser.
  5. Ad injection is when bad actors put ads on the website without the publisher being aware of it. This happens most often with adware applications and malicious plugins.

Related: How AI Addresses Advertising Fraud: Here’s What You Need to Know

How to report ad fraud

When it comes to reporting ad fraud, you first want to investigate user interaction. When it comes to spam and click injections, unlike other types of ad fraud, the publisher and advertisers may have difficulty finding the source of the attack.

Investigating user interaction at each and every moment until the app is installed is a great way to detect and prevent more ad fraud cases. A good rule of thumb is for users to contact you directly and tell you about their experience installing and using the app or website.

How to manage ad fraud

There are four specific ways to prevent ad fraud on your e-commerce site from happening.

  • Use an ads.txt file. This type of file is a digital agreement that authorizes legitimate publishers and advertisers. When you make an ad purchase, an ads.txt file provides confirmation of an approved network license so that you can place your ads. This file type also does something similar for publishers, as it confirms domain ownership.
  • Collaborate only with verified suppliers. Professional anti-fraud experts take a measure of traffic quality in addition to total advertising metrics. Identify invalid traffic and bad actor attempts to distort ad data. A verified marketer will also take a look at everything from website traffic sources and user involvement and every interaction on the ecommerce website.
  • Use a bot management system. A lot of inbound bot traffic that is scheduled on your website is a signal. Failure to do so may result in financial loss. Choosing a robot management system solves this problem. It does this by filtering out robot behaviors as well as robot traffic. Content delivery networks are also a solution to deal with a deluge of scheduled bot traffic.
  • Keep a close eye on third-party scripts. The effectiveness of an ad depends on its reach. To this end, advertisers and publishers use third-party scripts. These include add-ons and extensions, for example, to your advantage in order to ensure a larger audience. This works for both ads and publishers, but it still carries a risk that makes it worthless. This is especially true for unverified third-party scripts. Therefore, you want to control all of these third-party scripts that you place on your company’s website or that allow access to your sensitive private information.

Related: How ad fraud ruins the Internet

Now that you have information about what advertising fraud is and how to deal with it, you’ll be well on your way to identifying, reporting, and managing it.

While ad fraud won’t magically go away (and we’d love to do it), recognizing that it’s a problem and developing a set of good practices to deal with it can reduce the financial impact of fraud on your own business. .

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