With the world moving more and more online, the increase in advertising on websites was inevitable. As the advertising industry moves huge budgets from more traditional platforms such as television, the potential audience may have grown, but so too has the risk of fraud. Forrester figures suggest that at least $7.4 billion were spent on fraudulent or unviewable display ad inventory in 2016.
Ad fraud is committed in a number of ways, but some of the most common methods are the use of hitbots – automated programs which click on ads, costing the advertiser money, but without ever leading to a sale – and ‘ad stacking’ where an ad spot is sold multiple times on one website and the ads are placed on top of each other. The advertisers see that impressions are being generated but website users are only seeing the ad on top of the stack.
According to estimates by Pixalate as reported by Digiday UK, the share of desktop ad impressions which are fraudulent can be up to at least 80 percent – in Japan, for example. In the U.S. the share is approximately 37 percent.