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Apr 19

The signs of ad fraud & prevention

Ad Fraud has been a continual topic of conversation in the digital advertising industry in recent years. Cases like Methbot, the biggest ad fraud to date, have only made advertisers keep a closer on the campaigns being run and the data that’s being collected. But, what exactly should you be looking out for when you’re watching for ad fraud?

The two main signs of ad fraud are:

Tons of Clicks

If at any time during a campaign, you see your click-through-rate reach over 2% there is a chance that something suspicious is going on. The average CTR can range from .02-.05 on a normal campaign. Once it hits that 2% and above mark is when advertisers should start looking at the overall data collected in the campaign.

But, for this to actually be considered ad fraud, it needs to be statistically relevant. Say you have 100 impressions and 5 clicks—your click-through-rate is going to be sky high compared to say 10,000 impressions. Though the click-through-rate would be high, it is not considered ad fraud because there is not enough data. Once it reaches 10,000 impressions and up—there is enough data to determine if there is ad fraud present.

Win rate over 100%

When an advertiser is running a campaign, the win rate is a specific percentage that shows the number of impressions bids on vs. the number of impressions actually won. This win rate can be 2% on up. But if a win rate reaches over 100% that is an automatic sign of ad fraud. An over 100%-win rate means that you won more impressions than you actually bid on—this is impossible unless there’s the presence of an impression bot.

Across every level of advertising—open market, platform, ad exchange, etc.—the way fraud is categorized becomes very individualized. For an ad exchange to look at something as fraudulent 5% or more of the traffic would have to be fraud before the ad exchange even looks at it. Keep in mind that 5% could be 5 billion.

At Choozle, if a client believes a CTR is suspicious, we will investigate. Also, we have a three-tier prevention system that we have placed across every campaign and every Choozle customer to avoid ad fraud.

  1. DSP Exchange Level Block list – this is a block list already formed that prevents any known fraudulent sites, pornography sites, and known bad actors.
  2. Less Relevant – these are sites we deem as fraud, but the DSPs don’t because levels aren’t high enough at the ad exchanged level to be deemed that
  3. Low-Quality – low quality is any site that has a low viewability or any bad performing sites

Additionally, Choozle encourages all clients and new users to create their own block list based on their brand safety and/or past knowledge to implement on their campaign, as well as the other three tiers.

If an advertiser is aware of what they should be looking out for and knows how to try and prevent it, ad fraud doesn’t have to be the scary evil of digital advertising.

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