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A new report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and White Ops — the third annual Bot Baseline Report — suggests that advertisers indeed “making gains in the war against bot fraud.”

There are still ad fraud challenges. Economic losses due to bot fraud are estimated to reach $6.5 billion globally in 2017, according to the report (down 10 percent from the $7.2 billion reported in last year’s study). That decline is significant, say the report’s authors.

“The fraud decline is particularly impressive considering that it occurred when digital advertising spending is expected to increase by 10 percent or more,” it noted.

The study, based on an analysis of 49 ANA members’ digital advertising activity between October 2016 and January 2017, indicates that the advertisers were able to defy general market trends and made even greater gains in reducing bot fraud.

Additionally, the top 20 percent of performers in the study scored even more striking gains when extrapolated globally, with annual losses projected at only $700 million, representing a 90 percent reduction from the general market.

“Marketers worldwide are successfully adopting strategies and tactics to fight digital ad fraud,” said ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “This is a powerful indicator that the war on digital ad fraud is winnable for those who establish proper controls and protocols.”

In addition to key findings, the study offers a series of recommendations for advertisers, including:

  • Demand Transparency for Sourced Traffic: Buyers should insist upon transparency from all vendors and publishers about traffic sources.
  • Refuse Payment on Non-Human Traffic in Media Contracts: Insertion orders should include specific language indicating buyers will only pay for non-bot impressions.
  • Avoid Excessive Restrictions: In situations where supply does not meet demand for a target audience, fraud often follows.
  • Encourage MRC (Media Rating Council)-Accredited Third-Party Fraud Detection.

The entire Bot Baseline Report can be downloaded here.

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