You may be trying to do the best for your business by investing in digital marketing, only to become the victim of ad fraud. The problem is these fraudsters are so tricky that you might not even realize you’ve become a victim until your ad budget has been depleted and you have nothing to show for it. So, how can you catch advertising fraud before they become a problem? Also, how can you check local ads to ensure they display correctly?
This article looks at ad fraud and how you can spot the signs before your entire budget is gone. We’ll also look at how you can check ads locally using location proxies, like an Australian proxy, to check ads in other countries. Learn more about these location-specific proxies on this blog.
We’ll cover the following topics related to advertising fraud:
- What is ad fraud?
- How can ads be targeted?
- How to use proxies to detect local ad fraud?
What Is Ad Fraud?
Advertising fraud is a clever scam used by fraudsters to trick advertisers into paying for advertising that doesn’t benefit them. They do this by causing fake traffic or leads and misrepresenting ads, or placing them ineffectively. An example of ad fraud is when fraudsters use bots to click on or interact with ads. This makes it look to advertisers like the ad is performing well, but in the end, the traffic is fake and caused by bots who won’t make a sale. In the meantime, the advertiser’s budget is being consumed, but they aren’t receiving real traffic or impressions.
According to recent statistics, the cost of global ad fraud reached $65 billion in 2021. In 2019, the US held the second highest statistic of advertising fraud vs ad spending. In 2019, $62 million of a total ad spend of $407 million was wasted due to ad fraud. This is a whopping 15% of the country’s total ad spend. No fraud goes wholly undetected, and there are often warning signs, such as no or above regular performance.
How Can Ads Be Targeted?
There are many types of advertising fraud, but some of the main types include:
Click Fraud Or Click Injection
This is a type of fraud in which non-person entities simulate clicks on ads. This can be because of malware fraudsters installed on devices that create clicks on ads to exaggerate the spending on those ads. Alternatively, fraudsters can use bots to simulate fake clicks or impressions on ads. In these cases, it looks like viewers are interacting with ads when in reality, they aren’t.
Search Ad Fraud
Fraudsters create fake websites and optimize them for search engines without providing value to the users. Because the websites rank well in search engines, the fraudsters can sell ad space for high-value keywords on their fake site. This way, they get money from selling ads that probably won’t ever be seen by real users.
This is a very inventive technique that is difficult to spot. In ad stacking, the fraudsters place multiple ads on top of each other, but only the top ad is visible. However, when someone clicks on the top ad, they all earn clicks and impressions despite the rest not being visible. This way, fraudsters can claim impressions for all the ads, even if only one is visible.
This technique is similar to search advertising fraud, which often goes hand-in-hand. However, in the case of domain spoofing, fraudsters impersonate a well-known website or brand. In this case, the websites pretend to be from legitimate brands using the high value associated with selling inflated ad space.
Ads are placed within a single pixel on a website, so they can’t be seen or noticed. But in this case, anyone who views that page counts as impressions. This technique allows fraudsters to add dozens of ads on a single page, but the ads will never produce tangible results as users aren’t even aware of them.
How To Use Proxies To Detect Local Ad Fraud?
One of the best ways to protect against fraud is to check your ads regularly to ensure they look right. Using residential proxies is a great way to detect local ad fraud, especially if you’re not in your target country. For example, if your campaign focuses on Australia, but you’re in the US, it won’t be easy to check how your ad appears as you won’t be able to see it. In this case, you can use an Australian proxy to give you an IP address based in the country. Using the location-specific Australian proxy, you can view your ads as if you’re a local, even if you aren’t.
Advertising fraud is becoming more prevalent, and marketers without knowledge of what to look for might become easy victims of these fraudsters. Ad fraud causes inflated expenses with little to no ROI. They can also affect your reputation and even your optimization strategy. But if you check your ads regularly and keep a close eye on your performance metrics, you can quickly spot attempts at fraud before they get worse.