The total cost of ad fraud is debatable: The WFA predict ad fraud will become the biggest market for organized crime by 2025, being worth $50 billion. For the shorter term TrafficGuard/Juniper sets it at $34 billion in 2019 and predicts that it will increase to $87 billion by 2022; most of this will be lost in the APAC region, with the current $19 billion set to rise to $56 billion.
Digital ad industry still lacks transparency
By 2019, the media supply chain has become too long, which makes advertisers waste way too much time and money. There are too many different agencies involved in the process of setting and managing each ad campaign, thus cutting the advertising budget almost in half. But is it really worth it?
Adello notices that ad fraud is taken more and more seriously into account. One indicator is, that big companies like Bayer have just recently announced that they would take all their programmatic advertising spendings in-house. Part of that approach is probably due to the increase in programmatic ad spendings and the overall trend of controlling digital processes inhouse. But the step also proves that this new development can be not only be a big money saver (Digidays states Bayer saved up to $10 million by taking programmatic in-house) and it will allow big companies to stay in control over their programmatic data outcome, which is quality over quantity.
The reality is that digital ad supply chain players (excluding advertisers and usually DSPs) make a lot of money from fraudulent activity. The fight with ad fraud will cost them a significant part of their revenue. Becoming profitable with ad fraud, some publishers and exchanges can maliciously discourage digital ad networks or platforms from solving their problem. Clicks bring revenue regardless of whether they came from bots or actual people.
According to Interceptd’s 2019 Q1 Mobile Ad Fraud Report, even though device farming is still the most common fraud activity, the click spamming and click injections are also gaining momentum. Maybe the overall situation doesn’t look too bad and you might feel familiar with all the different types of fraud. Nevertheless, even knowing the specific ways fraudsters act, we cannot train a big protection army in the universities. Everything they would have learnt a year ago has become old and useless now.
“There is always an arms race between the bad guys and the good guys – they win and lose alternately”Mark Forster, Founder and CEO of Adello
It all brings us to the fact that fraudulent technologies do not stop improving. Every time we detect and beat digital ad fraud sources, it won’t be long until someone will come up with new ideas. Bad guys do not sleep, they develop new plans and rub their hands in anticipation of profit. Usually we can observe the dynamic of attacking each other one after the other as cyclical phenomenon.