The War on Digital Ad Fraud Is Winnable

May 24, 2017

By Bill Duggan

For the third year in a row, White Ops and ANA have partnered to measure bot fraud in the digital advertising ecosystem. In this latest study, 49 ANA member companies participated. The two top findings from our research:

Overall economic losses due to digital ad fraud have been reduced. Fraud losses for 2017 are estimated to be $6.5 billion globally, down 10 percent from the $7.2 billion reported in last year's study. That 10 percent decline in global dollar losses is even more impressive considering that digital advertising spending is expected to increase by 10 percent in 2017.

Gains among the 49 ANA member study participants were even more encouraging. It should be recognized that the ANA member participants no longer reflect the overall market (as they did in the first two White Ops/ANA studies). The 49 participants in this year's study have learned strategies and tactics to help fight fraud. Extrapolating the results of the 49 ANA member study participants to the overall market would result in overall fraud losses for 2017 of just $3.3 billion globally — about half that of the $6.5 billion projection noted above. Furthermore, the very best ANA member performers — those study participants in the top quintile (20 percent) of performance — have shown even more dramatic positive outcomes. Extrapolated globally, those top performers would project only $700 million lost globally to fraud in 2017. Therefore, a headline of this new research might be "The War on Digital Ad Fraud Is Winnable!" for those who pay attention and set proper controls.

The report provides recommended action steps that have been drawn from what the top performers have put into practice. These include: demanding transparency about traffic sources, including language on non-human traffic in terms and conditions, and setting the right metrics for success. More here in the report.

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