In this episode, Praneet and Shailin return to the show to discuss how advertising fraud is getting worse–not better. Praneet and Shailin worked with BuzzFeed reporter Craig Silverman, who was a previous guest on the show to talk about his remarkable findings about mobile advertising fraud, which accounts for hundreds of millions of dollars in theft every year.
Every hour of every day a million little crimes are committed online. And every time it happens, hundreds of legitimate businesses all over the world, with boards and shareholders and mission statements — some of them publicly listed — put the proceeds of those crimes in their own pockets. They do so knowingly.
Some people might consider it extraordinary that technology businesses — businesses that claim they can discern the intent of one buyer from a billion in milliseconds — somehow can’t recognize when millions of ads a month are served to a single unique user ID in, for instance, Belarus.
Method Media Intelligence's Shailin Dhar states that "when you study actual bot traffic in isolation as well as in live ad exchanges, you realize quickly that the truth can be described best as ‘take the industry estimates of the financial impact of fraud and multiply by ten.’”
Ad safety company Pixalate has uncovered what it says is a ‘sophisticated’ mobile app fraud potentially costing advertisers up to $75 million a year if allowed to run unchecked.
The company says it discovered that Android app, MegaCast which allows users to broadcast content to Google’s Chromecast, was using ‘mobile app laundering’ to generate fraudulent ad impressions.
Each time someone visits CAPrivacy.org, software gleans what information it can about them, then sends that information to Facebook, including their IP address, what web pages they were on before and after visiting, and so on. At this point, both the visitor and the website have basically lost control of what happens with that information.
Ad fraud and invalid traffic are the topics of this piece from Andrew Birmingham of Which 50.
MMI's Shailin Dhar stated that "for all the promises that digital data promotes, there still remains a gap in understanding the systems that generate them. The open, complex systems of the internet seem to be shrouded behind abstractions of what is marketed and what is actually possible."
Praneet Sharma added that “as the funders of this system, it’s ironic that advertisers have so little share of this data ‘currency’. For this system to make good on all its offerings and capabilities, the brands must be given full transparency of each and every penny spent, and gain a full awareness of its limitations".
Method Media Intelligence has created Proactive Auditing to address current challenges in digital advertising. Proactive Auditing provides full receipts of digital campaigns by tracking every impression. A dashboard provides clients with real time access to campaign metrics to identify wasted spend and enable clawbacks and rapid optimization.
Read Shailin Dhar's interview with Petr Michl of Focus Agency. This interview follows Method Media Intelligence's presentation at the 2017 Prague Marketing Festival.
Shailin commented on how ad fraud has become such an easy way to generate illegitimate revenue, and marketers are currently behind the curve on preventing wasted spend. Last year US advertisers were estimated to spend $7-8B delivering ads to robotic visitors, while less than $0.2B was spent on ad fraud prevention.
Method Media Intelligence serves advertisers by detecting invalid impressions and working with agencies to account for the use of advertising dollars. Proactive auditing is one tool MMI uses to empower advertisers to generate a higher return on advertising spend.