About ad fraud & brand safety in 2023

Ad fraud is the silent
killer – not of people,
but of brands’ bottom
lines. That’s because it
does more than anything
else to distort how your
ads are performing.

The State of Ad Fraud in 2023

Post an ad without adequate protection against ad fraud, and you might find that you get results from your campaign that either show an unrepresentative number of views, or that make out that a poor campaign is getting far more engagement than it is in reality. People who would normally respond to your call to action may instead be directed to another, totally different, place.

There are many other potential consequences of ad fraud, but the upshot is that brands interested in protecting their reputation and their revenue should be on their guard at all times against it. The aim of this article is to explain the most frequent kinds of ad fraud, and their effect on advertisers and the people they want to reach with their ads. In addition, the post will uncover the links between brand safety – and the protection of a brand’s integrity – and the prevention of ad fraud, looking at how a loss of trust in a brand, whatever the reason for that, can have the same effect as ad fraud. The advertising spend forecast to be lost to ad fraud has climbed in 2022 and 2023, reaching the total of 88 billion USD by the end of 2023. So, making sure to protect yours is evermore important. Programmatic ad spending is expected to surpass 500 billion U.S. dollars by 2023.

Why the Ad Industry Should Worry About Ad Fraud

Perceptions of ad performance are distorted by ad fraud.

When a brand embarks on an online ad campaign, it looks to a complex set of data in order to measure how well it is performing in front of its audience. For example, it is important to know that the ad is placed on the right sites, apps, and publications. This is crucial for ensuring that the ads appear in front of the people the brand wants to see the ad. In order for an ad for clothing to be seen by, for example, a Gen-Z audience with a large disposable income, there needs to be research on which apps and sites they typically use, and when.

Back in 2015 AdAge reported that every $1 out of $3 spent is thought to be lost to ad fraud which is over 30%. The newer statistics from 2022 about growing ad spending can help us speculate that this number is now closer to 20%. This speculation is based on Statista statistics that forecast programmatic advertising costs to climb to $500 billion dollars and $100 billion will be lost due to ad fraud. Although percentage-wise that is an improvement, there is still work to be done.

Many Shapes of Ad Fraud

Ad fraud can take many shapes and is constantly evolving, so it’s important to keep ahead of it. This post will discuss the various kinds of ad fraud that can ruin your best-planned campaigns, and how to prevent campaigns from being taken over by fraudulent traffic. The aim is to bring brands the ad engagement they deserve for their carefully considered campaigns. As part of the report, we will also discuss positive steps brands can take to avoid the perception of being victims of ad fraud. These are summarised in a section related to the importance of brand safety. While ad fraud can happen even to the most prudent of brands, as we explain, there are concrete actions that can be taken to protect the good name of companies and to prevent exposure to fraud as far as possible.

Ad Fraud by click bots

Know Your Enemy

Ad fraud has grown in sophistication as attempts to stamp it out have grown more heightened, but there are still a number of methods that are consistently popular with fraudsters. This is because they have been proven, unfortunately, to work well. Below, we will detail some of the key methods used by ad fraudsters, and how they work.

  • Placement fraud – This is when impressions are sent out, but the placement is either hidden by another placement, or is far below its expected dimensions, and therefore unviewable.
  • Mobile Ad FraudIt is more likely today that people will use mobile devices rather than desktop computers to surf the internet, and yet many mobile devices are still unprotected.
  • Malware and Adware – Programs that cause the end user’s device to download something they don’t want, and didn’t ask for.
  • Click Bots and Click Farms – Automated or manual methods of skewing data and creating false information with regard to clicks on ads and other links.

You can add your MOAT tracking link to each of your creatives to protect your brand from unwanted traffic!

Get Started

Sign up to Nexd Campaign Manager for a free 14-day trial and start creating environment-friendly and highly engaging programmatic creatives!