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Your advertising marketing spend is being killed by fraud

Your advertising marketing spend is being killed by fraud

Although the UK’s advertising market spend saw an increase in 2023 to £9.6bn – ad fraud still remains the biggest threat to budgets. 

According to the latest IPA Bellweather report, advertising marketing spend budgets saw their biggest growth since 2014 last year but ad fraud also hit an estimated $84 billion in the same year. 

Figures from Statista estimate that costs related to digital advertising fraud worldwide would increase in the five years between 2023 to 2028 from $88b to $172b – roughly 14 per cent annually and nearly double over the period. 

And, in an article for Forbes, Paula Chiocchi, CEO of Outward Media, said: “A staggering amount of ad spend is slipping through the cracks in digital marketing. This is occurring as every open, click and impression holds immense value for brands.” 

She goes on to add that, in her nearly two decades in the marketing data business: “I’ve never seen a bigger threat to the integrity of the advertising industry.” 

Google under fire for transparency issues 

This follows hot on the heels of news from Adalytics research into Google YouTube campaigns which found that 80 per cent of analysed campaigns for a thousand brands between 2020 and 2023 were being delivered on non-conforming third-party sites, typically with sound off and not visible. 

Google’s proprietary cost-per-view, choice-based TrueView platform serves video ads to millions of apps, and across the web to sites in the Google Video Partner (GVP) program.  

Advertisers buying the skippable, in-stream TrueView ad format are supposed to pay only “for actual views of their ads, rather than impressions,” per Google’s own description.  

Google’s policies state that TrueView ads must be skippable (after five seconds, a prompt should ask viewers if they want to skip the rest of the ad) and audible, and that video ad plays must be initiated by viewer action, not passive user scrolling. 

Available video ad formats available in Google Ads include those pictured above.

Adalytics’ report asserts that: “For years, significant quantities of TrueView skippable in-stream ads, purchased by many different brands and media agencies, appear to have been served on hundreds of thousands of websites and apps in which the consumer experience did not meet Google’s stated quality standards.” 

The firm accused the company of placing ads in small, muted, automatically played videos off to the side of a page’s main content, on sites that don’t meet Google’s standards for monetisation, among other violations. 

One example cited by the Adalytics report claimed that 90% of the budget for one Fortune 500 brand’s in-stream, skippable TrueView campaign, costing tens of thousands of dollars, ended up going to GVP mobile apps and websites, and only 10% to YouTube channels. 

Google is disputing the accuracy of the research. The story first appeared in the Wall Street Journal in an article by Patience Haggin 

Ad fraud is killing your advertising marketing spend 

Back in March 2022 we wrote a blog – How Ad Fraud is killing your marketing – which included data about the percentages of digital advertising that were affected by ad fraud. 

The results ranged between 10 to 60% according to a number of different surveys, including the landmark 2016 one carried out by the Association of National Advertisers and digital security firm White Ops (now Human). 

Their investigation monitored 181 digital marketing campaigns from 36 ANA members, including big brand names like Ford, Verizon and Pfizer, across 60 days. They uncovered hundreds of millions of bots infecting advertising campaigns. 

In 2021, Human’s Senior Product Marketing Manager John Waters wrote a blog which looked at threat and fraud models targeting marketing professionals’ advertising budgets and campaigns. 

This means that half, or more, of paid online display adverts have probably never been seen by an actual human. 

The number of impressions which aren’t viewed is estimated as high as 85% and as long ago as 2012, Incapsula was reporting that only 35% of all internet traffic was human.  

Latest estimates for internet traffic put the number of bots as making up around 70% of all traffic, and with 40% of that figure being malicious ones, it’s time to consider if the figures you’re seeing from your marketing campaigns are actually accurate. 

Bots are hammering your PPC ad spend, polluting your analytics and harming your insights.  

Veracity Trust Network is a market leading, global proven solution. We safeguard organisations from the threat of bot attacks, through our deep tech machine-learning solutions which address Security, Fraud and Advertising Technology. 

Our Ad Fraud Prevention is patented and AI-powered, and works to block fake traffic, increase conversions and produce data you can actually trust. 

Start protecting your website and ad spend from bot attacks by booking a call now: 

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