The digital advertising ecosystem is comprised of several players, which includes advertisers and publishers. Advertisers need to purchase ad space across multiple platforms to promote their product. And publishers need to sell ad space (e.g. website, blog, app, etc.) to make money. Together, they form a mutually beneficial relationship.
By playing in the same space, both are vulnerable to ad fraud. Publishers in particular stand to lose $3.5 million to fraud daily or $1.27 billion yearly, with the most common source of ad fraud being fraudulent traffic sources.
To mitigate fraudulent traffic sources, publishers need to be proactive and ask questions before jumping in bed with an advertiser.
Questions a Publisher Should Ask
Ideally, you want high quality or targeted traffic, which has a better chance of lining up with your targeted demographic plus it’s less likely to be fraudulent. But you don’t know if that traffic is really solid, high-performing traffic unless you ask.
Questions a publisher needs to be asking include:
Where do you get your traffic from? An advertiser’s traffic source could potentially be fraudulent. Bots or non-human traffic results in false engagement that leads to no conversions.
Source: Know Your Meme
Don’t let bots get the upper hand. Before you commit, dig around and find out the traffic source including its location, conversion rate, and cost. And a word of caution, just because the source is cheaper, doesn’t make it better.
Are you buying your traffic from a traffic broker? Dig a little deeper and be direct: ask if they’re buying from a traffic broker. Some traffic brokers purchase traffic generated from bot farms and pass that bad traffic onto advertisers who in turn pass it along to publishers.
Are you a programmatic agency and buyer of inventory? If an advertiser claims to be both, proceed with caution. Here’s why. Recently a publisher dealt with a third-party seller who claimed to be both, and wanted to be added to the publisher’s ads.txt list. However, buyers don’t need to be added to ads.txt, just sellers of inventory. Turns out the advertiser was a reseller trying to game the system.
Got Answers, Now What?
It’s cliche, but knowledge is power. To avoid ad fraud, you need to ask the right questions and get real answers. We know how detrimental ad fraud can be to your business, so choose your advertisers wisely. You should be confident knowing your advertiser and the traffic they will bring you is legitimate.