What Does 2018 Hold for the Fight Against Ad Fraud? Experts Comment

The battle against ad fraud has raged on in 2017, but there is much to be positive about in industry developments that have been made. In a series of features reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to what we can expect in 2018, ExchangeWire invites over 100 thought leaders from across the industry to share their views. In the latest installment of the series, experts predict how the fight against ad fraud will develop next year.

Marketer confidence needs to be renewed

"2018 needs to be the year when we see a noticeable reduction of instances of fraud and nonhuman traffic. In 2017 we saw programmatic and machine learning really making headlines, but it wasn’t always for good reasons. The advertising industry took a hit as ad fraud became a pertinent issue and questions were raised about brand safety and transparency on a national level. For the coming year, there needs to be a positive shift in the battle against fraud to renew confidence for marketers in our industry with a ‘can do’ attitude. I expect the UK will see an increased number of companies becoming accredited and this will become the must-have for fraud providers and trading platforms. Ad fraud will certainly be a theme of 2018, but this time for the right reasons."

Mark Wrighton, VP EMEA, Impact Radius

More resources devoted to inventory quality

Taykey"Some studies, including a recent one from the ANA, show that ad fraud losses may actually begin to trend downward as better protections begin to drive up the cost of fraud for scammers. As sophisticated fraud protection increasingly becomes cost of entry, I’m hopeful that buyers will be able to devote more resources to proactively optimising around inventory quality, relevance, and ultimately attention. This means that ad environment can become a true optimisation lever for programmatic buying rather than just a disaster to be avoided. ‘Human and viewable’ are obviously critical criteria for any ad buy, but that’s actually a pretty low bar for a brand advertiser."

Amit Avner, CEO, TayKey

Attribution fraud will be a pain point in mobile app advertising

"The feared bots and sophisticated bot farms will be important to be aware of moving into 2018. With the advancements in AI, the ongoing game of cat and mouse between fraudsters’ innovations and anti-fraud solutions will continue to evolve. Advertisers will need to be careful of those fraudsters who will continue slipping through the cracks and only be detected in retrospect. Attribution fraud will also continue to be another pain point for the mobile app advertising ecosystem, with fraudsters hijacking performance attribution by abusing the fact that mobile app marketing is almost all traded in 'CPI' (cost per install). Decoupling attribution and incentives, buying inventory for what it is truly worth, and utilising multi-touch to understand value will be the way to disincentivise attribution fraud as we move forward."

Maor Sadra, Managing Director & CRO, AppLift

Marketers will invest more in knowledge, skills, and tools

"In 2018, marketers will spend more than ever on mobile advertising – big surprise, right? What is staggering is that marketers are accepting ad fraud as a cost of doing business, and are increasing ad spend in spite of fraud. Marketers frequently don’t know what the various types of fraud are or where bad actors are coming from, much less how to stop them. As mobile advertising continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, so too does fraud. Over the next year, we will see advertisers and agencies invest more in acquiring the right knowledge, skills, and tools to battle mobile ad fraud, increasing their ability to understand it and minimise its impact so marketers get better performance from their campaigns. Next year will be full of fresh, exciting opportunities for marketers – especially with the arrival of the iPhone X – and the marketers who are better able to combat mobile ad fraud will have a competitive advantage."

Ran Avrahamy, VP Global Marketing, AppsFlyer

Advertisers have a part to play in tackling ad fraud

"Ad fraud has shaken digital advertising this year. As the prevalence of techniques such as domain spoofing continues to rise – the FT alone uncovered fraudulent activity costing £1m a month – we will see the entire industry come together to solve these challenges in the coming year. While ad tech providers and industry trade groups – such as the IAB with the ads.txt initiative – are making great strides to tackle fraud, advertisers will also have a part to play. As the stakes rise – marketers are predicted lose USD$16.4bn (£12.3bn) globally to fraudulent activities by the end of the year – they will become more assertive in their demands for better fraud prevention measures. As marketers seek to increase their knowledge of different fraud types – from bots to unauthorised domain reselling – and understand the necessary measures to remain safe, ad tech providers will need to adapt their technology and techniques to meet this demand."

Richard Kidd, VP, Head of Business Development, OpenX

Mobile in-app fraud will increase

Forensiq"Ad fraud will become pervasive across the mobile cost-per-install ecosystem. Fraudsters targeting app inventory will significantly increase their level of sophistication and the number of channels through which they commit fraud on apps and connected devices. We’ve seen an uptick in the complexity of fraudsters’ tactics at the tail end of 2017 and we don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon. In 2018, we will see the rise of mass [app] install farms while marketers and industry players, like Google, become more educated about, and take steps to address, attribution fraud."

David Sendroff, CEO, Forensiq

There will be a turning point in the fight against fraud


"2018 will be the turning point in combating fraud in the programmatic ecosystem. The simplicity and ease of rolling out the Ads.txt solution should hopefully drive faster adoption by the publisher community and thus provide an easy mechanism for buying platforms to identify spoofed or illegitimate inventory sources. Investment in tools and processes to weed out fraud will become table stakes for DSPs that have to be aligned in ensuring the legitimacy of the advertising opportunities their clients spend media dollars to acquire. In addition, the market forces stipulating ever-increasing transparency, the repercussions of finding oneself on the wrong side of fraudulent activity (reputation and thus monetary damage from being named and shamed as a vendor selling spoofed or illegitimate inventory), and the shared accountability that all legitimate actors have in cleaning up the supply chain should further limit the opportunities for fraudsters to siphon value out of the ecosystem."

Julian Baring, General Manager - North America, Adform

The protection of publishers is lagging behind

HIRO Media"While the industry is beginning to focus on protecting advertisers from issues such as suspicious traffic, the protection of publishers from suspicious advertising creatives is lagging behind. The current protections from suspected creatives includes protection from both adware and creatives that violate a publisher’s usability guidelines, such as auto-sound, where sound is not allowed. Roughly 40% of creatives do not comply with these site guidelines and 1-3% include adware. The ad-blocking boom is one of the reactions to this phenomenon. If we do not want users blocking our ads, then we must first make sure that they are configured properly. The industry is beginning to form self-regulation organisations for fighting suspicious creatives with the likes of CBA and LEAN – an important first step. The current limitations are technological. Only a limited number of companies are able to filter suspicious ads in real time at the moment. We hope that these technologies will be more widely adopted in 2018."

Oded Napchi, CMO, HIRO Media