A new report has analyzed the extent of the effect of different ad fraud techniques across 22 separate countries.
The Opticks 2020 Annual Ad Fraud Report, which draws on data taken from over 466 billion site visits in over 200 global territories, revealed that while bad bots represent the most dangerous threat across all regions, non-compliant traffic — including datacenter/VPN/other corporate traffic, iFrame traffic, and traffic derived from potentially unsafe environments such as adult or dangerous apps — is also a major global threat.
According to the report, the top three nations that are most exposed to ad fraud are Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Germany. However, the report also confirmed the common notion that Asia as a whole can still be considered the “ad fraud capital” of the world.
While the granular level of detail included in the report is a useful resource for advertising stakeholders to help them better understand existing threats in their regions, the report is also valuable for those devising strategies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on the findings, the authors of the report made several predictions for 2021.
Ad fraud will continue to grow globally
The report shows that ad fraud’s impact grew by 15% in Q2 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. With mandated lockdowns and restricted mobility still in place around the world, the report predicts that levels of ad fraud will continue to climb.
Digital ad spend will increase as a share of the marketing spend
With multiple marketing strategies shifting to digital, the advertising industry — B2B companies in the tech and media agency spaces especially — will continue to spend more on digital advertising campaigns.
This is seen across multiple industries. For example, as sales at brick-and-mortar stores have declined, companies have turned to e-commerce to reacquire lost offline customers and reach new ones. These digital initiatives are aimed to capture new and existing customers. However, for those new in the online commerce space, they are likely unaware of how easily they can fall victim to ad fraud.
Introduction of new marketing analytics standards
Google announced that after 2021, third-party cookies will be disallowed, and advertisers will not be able to track users via unique identifiers, which means they’ll have less data on users that can be used to form segmented audiences.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, global ad spending rose by 7% from 2019 to 2020 to a total of $691.7 billion. Ultimately, COVID-19 has provided fraudsters with a swathe of new opportunities to drain campaign budgets.
Eduard Aznar, CEO of anti-fraud solution Opticks, says, “Due to COVID-19, we predict a continued reduction in acquisition channels across the industry, plus fewer media partners to ensure better control over ad spend. We’ll also likely see businesses prioritizing revenue-driving and performance-based initiatives such as affiliate marketing channels to help maximize ROAS (Return On Advertising Spend). Simultaneously, we predict that organizations will move steadily away from investing in brand awareness initiatives like boosting video views and traffic.”
Deprioritizing brand-building will mean that those in the advertising industry need to reconsider how they shape their brand — which will be compounded by the changes in people’s media and consumption habits. This action needs to be balanced alongside the hope that global confinement measures will soon ease. This means careful consideration of how much to invest in digital channels, while not ignoring the real possibility that many offline channels will soon regain their importance will be paramount to brands’ survival.
Another risk for advertisers is the availability of lower cost-per-mille (CPM) impressions in order to financially satisfy both on and offline channels. Advertisers who seek out cheaper CPM impressions make themselves a target for ad fraud since many of these low rates are borne of fraud and bad bots.
The methods of preventing ad fraud haven’t changed since the onset of the pandemic: Anti ad fraud solutions have been leading the fight not just against preventing ad fraud, but against the waste of ad spend due to invalid traffic.
Advertisers have the unique opportunity to identify malvertising and drive revenue and conversion rates upwards by utilizing anti ad fraud solutions that can easily monitor and proactively block suspicious activity before it becomes a problem.
For more insights on global ad fraud, including a special focus on mobile malware and an in-depth browser analysis of susceptibility to types of ad fraud, click here to access Opticks’ Annual 2020 Ad Fraud Report.
Eduardo is the CEO at Opticks, a cybersecurity company providing leading anti ad fraud solutions to brands and agencies worldwide. He has years of experience in helping businesses across the globe reach their revenue goals while keeping fraud at bay. His vision is to reach an economy where fraud becomes practically harmless.