Why you should ask your agency about Advertising Fraud


While it might be a norm in our industry to push for the lowest possible price for a digital brief, brands should also watch out for the quality of their ad placements. “Not all impressions are created equal.”, as the old adage goes, advertisers might find their advertising KPIs dramatically improved by just paying a little bit more attention to where their ads are coming through.


Social channels are not free of fraud.

Without appropriate safeguards, campaigns on social media are equally susceptible to ad frauds. Pixalate (2018) reported that ad frauds on social media channels racked up nearly 14% on mobiles and 11% on desktops. The report attributes the sources of frauds to fake social media profiles, engagements or conversions. In the same report, it is worth noting that the percentage of Ad Frauds on social channels is even higher than our run-of-the-mill display ads on desktops and highest among all mobile apps categories on iOS.


FMCG (CPG) brands are at greater risk.

Over recent years, brands have ridden the waves of programmatic buying as it presents seemingly limitless inventory scale and targeting options. This is especially true for FMCG (or in particular CPG) brands, who were early adopters of the Real-time Bidding (RTB) protocol. With every periodic wave of new products, CPG brands need to mobilize a considerable amount of traffic to push for the awareness of each launch. Unfortunately, Mike Kim from Integral Ads Science(2018), estimates the amount of bots and fraudster activities on CPG-related sites to be 21% higher than the global average. This is a great concern for the CPG industry, as they account for 47% of mobile ad buys, according to the same report.


Why is it so difficult ? What is the next step?

According to Nicole Perrin from Emarketer (2018), the top reason why ad frauds are still prevalent is that it is still very difficult to track down bad actors in the inventory supply chain. As such, the very first step any brand should do to protect themselves is to check with their suppliers if they have had any integrated fraud detectors that are well-established in the market.  

IAS Insider (2018) suggested that fraud detection vendors should use a “multi-faceted” approach: (1) Behavioural and Network Analysis, (2) Browser and Device Analysis, (3) Malware Analysis and Targeted Reconnaissance, the last one presents many opportunities since bots are to be reverse-engineered to study how they work. This information can then be used to strengthen existing detection methods.

The battle against Ad Frauds certainly requires constant innovation from technology vendors. Therefore, whether brands decide to run campaigns with in-house teams or via an agency, it is always advisable for them to contemplate on a fraud prevention game plan as an important must-have for any digital advertising efforts.



  1. Pixalate, Programmatic Traffic Quality: Market Update, North America, Q2, 2018, 2018, Pixalate Inc.
  2. Mike Kim, Case Study: How one CPG brand cut programmatic ad fraud, 2018, IAS Insider, Integral Ad Science Inc.
  3. Nicole Perrin, Cleaning Up the Digital Media Supply Chain, What Will Move the Industry Toward Transparency and Optimization?, 2018, Emarketer Inc.
  4. Michael Krauss, How to select a fraud detection provider, 2018, IAS Insider, Integral Ad Science Inc.