Just when you think that the forms of illegality couldn’t get any more elaborate, well you were wrong. Digital advertising fraud is becoming a major problem in the online world of advertising. Advertising bots, yes you read that correctly, robots sneak their way in to major advertisements, copy their coding, and are displayed on sites to seemingly replicate the original ads. Now, initially, what’s the issue, right? The companies like that their ads are being displayed on multiple platforms, without them spending more money to do so and their numbers are also increasing. Well, no, not exactly. What these bots do with these ad replicates is provide a click-through link that in turn helps third party companies, those responsible for the creation of these bots, to receive money…and let me be the first to say that they are very successful. To give you a more specific idea, estimates are that potentially up to 25 percent of online advertising spending is going to fake advertisers.
Now, apart from this just having an initial shock value to it, I can’t help but wonder why Ad. agencies aren’t actively pursuing these fraudulent advertisers and bringing them to justice. This is a genuine problem for these clients but it makes us wonder if the agencies are actually as concerned as they seem to be. The clients are the ones spending the money and it seems that the advertisers, though they do recognize it as a problem and issue, don’t seem to be as concerned as they maybe should be because of the fact that their message is reaching more people.
Ok, so to get a little tech-geek on you here, one way that fraudulent advertisements are caught is through a product called Integral Ad Science. This product helps monitor advertisements by using an advanced detection technology to evaluate the legitimacy of impressions. What is essential about this product is that it monitors the number of impressions with these advertisements in real time, and alerts and marks a fraudulent advertisement as a bot immediately upon recognition of its ill-legitimacy.
I think ultimately what comes into play with fraudulent advertisements is a singular idea of morals and ethics. It is clearly not ethical for these third party companies to be genuinely stealing money from these big advertising spenders but it is also not moral or ethical for some agencies to not take as active of a role in pursuing these fraudulent third party bots. I am not saying that agencies are giving the green light to these ad. frauds solely to boost some share numbers, but I do think that there are some instances that maybe get put into the dark with the out of sight, out of mind policy. Hopefully though, we will see the world of advertising fraud get cracked down on, bringing more severe punishments for those who violate the moral and ethical rules of true, measurable advertisements.