What Is Ad Fraud And How Does It Work
Let’s start with one simple statement — ad fraud is here, and it’s here to stay. Protection is a must, and there are fewer and fewer opportunities for marketers to operate online ads without a fraud detection tool.
In this blog post FraudScore’s team is going to dig deeper into the types of ad fraud, ways to detect fraudulent traffic, and tools that might release you from the task of a constant control of traffic quality.
Is there really a problem?
If you are working with online advertising & ad campaigns — you expect to reach (and get) real views, real users, real people. You pay for those users and interaction with them.
Fraud is simply a scheme that allows bad guys to fulfill the KPIs of your ad campaigns, steal target actions from/as real users, and get to your ad budget. In other words — you get good statistics for your campaign, but there are no (or few) real humans. It’s indeed a problem.
What Types of Ad Fraud Are There?
There are dozens of types of fraudulent schemes out there. But to illustrate the main categories, let’s take a look at these:
Impression (media) fraud
To cut a long story short — impression fraud is aimed to fake impressions. As in these types of campaigns advertisers pay for contact with a potential user via showing the brand’s ad. So, the key goal of bad guys is to fake and skyrocket views of the ad.
Basically, performance fraud wants to get money for any target action of a campaign: clicks, installs, conversion, payments etc. Take a look at the campaign goal — CPM, CPC, CPA — and you’ll get the targeted action for fraudsters.
Users and their data are real — they view ads, click, install, fill out forms etc. But they are not really organic. They do all the actions because they are motivated with payouts. Usually such users are hired to fake a really good traffic (sometimes to show good test runs of a source, sometimes for a one-time operation). But these users are of no long-time use for an advertiser. They leave after they do what they are told to do (there are scenarios and step-by-step guides for such incentivised users).
It’s worth mentioning that in gaming — incentive campaigns work for promotion purposes, but it’s not always the case.
Bots & Others
Here are all the types of fraud schemes that “can do it all”. These are really “flexible”, and bad players are exploiting it:
Fraud in Remarketing Campaigns
Remarketing campaigns are aimed to gain users who have already interacted with the product/ad. These users are supposed to be easier to attract because they are already interested. And most importantly — these are real people (already verified through the first interactions). Advertisers have high hopes for this category of users.
To cut a long story short — fraudsters aim to steal attribution for these users. This type of fraudulent activity might relate to any type of campaign with attribution payment model.
It’s also worth mentioning that the majority of remarketing campaigns are conducted through Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. And these environments are supposed to be fraud-free, but in reality — they are not. Fraudsters are well known to find their way to remarketing traffic.
How to detect ad fraud?
1. Monitor metrics.
When you monitor traffic data, you need to keep an eye on specific metrics that might signal bad traffic — CR, TTI, Churn, GEO data, etc. Each category of ad campaign (and ad fraud) can be detected by monitoring specific data. To sum it all up — if the data is really good and promising — double check it.
2. Use a third party antifraud tool (SaaS).
If you control and monitor statistics, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need an antifraud tool. A human simply can’t process millions of data points that help an antifraud solution detect fraudsters. A human can make mistakes. So an independent third-party service is a good option to consider. These tools are made to prevent and detect ad fraud, and they focus only on the task of fighting bad guys.
There is a checklist to find a suitable antifraud tool, you can check it here.
3. Have an in-house antifraud tool.
This approach works, but you need to keep in mind that, first, a separate tool needs both development and constant updates (fraudsters are known to improve their game constantly), and second — you need to invest in the education of your team to make them traffic-quality-specialists. And, of course, you’ll have to take into account that your managers need time to read the reports, detect ad fraud, and make fraud cases. After all, you hire good affiliate managers, and not ad fraud specialists. Or if you do — it costs a lot of money.
There are pros and cons in every approach to fighting fraudsters, but there is no option to ignore ad fraud. Take a look at the latest ad fraud report by FraudScore. In the first six months of 2022 there are 27% of fraudulent traffic detected globally. And this number only shows the average situation in the world.
FraudScore team invites you to have a chat about global ad fraud threats, and discuss how our antifraud solution can be useful to your business. Contact us, and let’s have a chat!
You can either book a meeting with one of our business development guys to get a personalized walk through the FraudScore platform.
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