Advertisers today place a high priority on ad verification. The reason for this is ad fraud. In 2020, ad fraud exceeded credit card fraud in terms of money lost and proportion of the industry. Approximately 10.5% of all digital advertising activity is fraudulent in reality.
It’s becoming more evident that marketers should be wary of fraudulent advertising. In this article, we’ve provided an essential guide to ad fraud. Let’s begin with the basics:
What is Ad Fraud?
Ad fraud is a type of online advertising scam that involves the creation of fake ad traffic in order to generate revenue from ad clicks. Ad fraudsters use a variety of methods to generate fake traffic, including bots, spoofed domains, and fake sites. This fraudulent activity can cost advertisers billions of dollars each year.
Not only does ad fraud drain budgets, but it also undermines confidence in online advertising and makes it difficult for legitimate publishers to compete. Due to this, ad fraud is a serious problem requiring the collaboration of all parties involved in the digital advertising industry.
What are the various types of Ad Fraud?
Advertising fraud is usually associated with automated or robotic procedures, but other types involve human interaction. Here are some of the most common forms of ad fraud.
1. Ad Stacking
There are a number of ways you can host ads on a website so that they are not visible to our eyes. The most commonly used techniques are:
- Displaying ads in a 1×1 pixel square,
- Stacking multiple ads on top of each other,
- Placing ads outside of visible areas.
In this case, the website owner receives payment for the displayed advertisement. However, it will lead to very few or no clicks for the advertiser.
2. Click Farms
Click farms are among the most common ad fraud methods. To put it simply, bots or real people are paid to click on ads. They aren’t real customers, so the click is useless to advertisers.
Click farms are often actual facilities, like warehouses in developing countries with hundreds of people assigned to click, like, and interact with content all day long. They also employ workers who work remotely.
Perhaps you have seen advertisements on the Internet saying “Earn money from home”. They could involve remote click jobs that use PTC (paid to click sites and apps). The number of such companies has increased recently, and they now pose a serious problem for marketers.
3. Bot Traffic
Automated systems designed to connect or click on websites are a frequent source of ad fraud. Some are more effective than others.
Ad bots are typically designed to perform simple repetitive tasks, such as browsing through domains and clicking the same group of ads. They can also perform one specific action across several sites. These types of bots are relatively easy to identify since they use the same URL and cookie profiling.
4. Arbitrage or Impression Fraud
It is a way of diverting legitimate display advertisements onto shady or less relevant websites. Advertisers pay the cost of this fraud through a CPM (cost per mile) campaign, in which performance is measured by impressions rather than clicks.
Pixel stuffing is a common method of impression fraud. In this scheme, fraudsters use fake pixels to insert multiple ads into a normal-looking ad. To the naked eye, this pixel is completely invisible. Users don’t know they’re getting multiple ads as soon as the page loads. As a result, fraudsters are paid for the fraudulent impressions. To create lots of ad impressions, fraudsters rely on bots.
What is Ad Verification?
Now that you know what ad fraud is, it’s time to find out what exactly Ad verification is. There are two essential components of ad verification:
- Checking whether the advertisements are displayed correctly and seen by the right audience.
- Identifying and trapping ad fraud schemes damaging your campaigns.
The technology of ad verification is becoming more popular and, hopefully, it’ll impact the digital advertising industry. Thus, ad verification is an essential part of large-scale advertising, since it helps to prevent misleading or false advertisements from reaching consumers.
What are the challenges of ad verification?
Verifying your ads requires setting up automations to access the websites and check the ads that are displayed there. To make the ad verification process efficient, you constantly need to change:
- Your IP address, since you’ll have to make numerous requests and don’t want to be blocked while doing it
- Your geolocation, if your ads are targeting different countries
- Your device info, if you want people to see your ads only from particular devices
All that can’t be done without residential proxies.
Proxies for Ad Verification
To streamline your advertisement verification process, you can use a residential proxy network. You will see that it matches all the challenges listed previously:
- Using residential proxies, you get access to pools of IP addresses associated with real end-user devices and houses. Using such a network prevents you from being blocked by websites that you need to check.
- A major proxy network usually has IP addresses throughout the world, making geo-based verification much easier.
- You can add a layer of security by rotating the IP addresses, and that’s where a rotating proxy network comes into play. Utilize it to reach the highest success rates.
- You can easily change the device info by rotating request parameters, and proxy servers ensure that this process is undetected.
Verify Ads at Scale with no Interruptions
As the world of online advertising becomes increasingly complex, so too does the need for reliable ad verification and fraud detection solutions. NetNut is a leading provider of residential proxies, offering a fast and reliable way to verify ad placements and trap ad fraudsters. With its robust network of residential IPs, NetNut provides users with the ability to quickly and easily test ad campaigns across multiple locations.
Using NetNut Proxy Network, advertisers can rest assured that their campaigns are running smoothly and that their ads are reaching the intended audience.
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Senior Growth Marketing Manager