12 innovative ways to detect and prevent digital ad fraud

The third and final chapter in the series discussing digital ad fraud, by John Wilpers, editor of the FIPP Innovation in Magazine Media annual reports.

Part one is here.

Part two is here.

NEW YORK – December 9, 2014 – Almost a quarter of video ad impressions and more than half of third party sourced traffic is fraudulent, according to the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and online fraud detection firm White Ops’ study of bot fraud in the digital advertising industry.

The ANA/WhiteOps study and other industry strategists suggest:

1.    Manage the emotions of ad fraud discussions

People fear appearing to have been made the fool; it is essential discussions of anti-fraud strategies look for solutions, not blame.

2.    Authorise, approve, monitor and report on third-party traffic

Monitor all traffic in real time with third-party tools every day all day. Your tech talent cannot approximate expert third-party monitoring services whose software and databases are the only match for the fraudsters’ black-hat hackers. Report results.

3.    Communicate about bots effectively

Bot-fraud discussions must be part of all media buy conversations internally and externally.

4.    Be aware and involved

Ignorance is no longer acceptable. Take an active and vocal position.

5.    Request transparency for sourced traffic

Third-party or sourced traffic has the highest level of fraud. Publishers must be completely transparent about sources of traffic.

6.    Apply day-parting

Bot fraud is much more prevalent between midnight and 7 a.m. Advertise during audience waking hours.

7.    Update blacklists frequently

Blacklists are like a “Whack-a-Mole” game. For every site we blacklist, the fraudsters just go out and build another. But if you are going to do blacklisting, update daily and use other defenses.

8.    Control for ad injection

Ad injection results in high levels of fraud in programmatic buys. Discuss with your Demand Side Platform (DSP) company or tech platform people about how to control it.

9.    Consider reducing buys for older browsers

More bots claim to be Internet Explorer 6 or 7 than there are humans still using those browsers. Reduce/eliminate support for older browsers.

10. Announce your anti-fraud policy to all external partners

The “watchdog effect” has proven to change fraudster behaviour and reduce fraud.

11. Budget for security

The ANA study found the typical cost of security is one to three per cent. That spending could return many multiples if the publishing industry’s experience matches the credit card industry’s anti-fraud initiatives that lowered fraud losses to $0.08 cents per hundred dollars.

12. Protect yourself from content theft

Use a domain or bot detection service to monitor for content-scraping (presenting your site’s content on a another website and monetising it).

John Wilpers is currently editing the 2015 edition of FIPP’s Innovation in Magazine Media World Report which will be launched at the FIPP/VDZ/eMediaSf Digital Innovators Summit in Berlin, 21-24 March 2015 . This will be the 6th edition of the Innovation Report which he has co-authored as consultant with Innovation International Media Consulting . John consults with media companies around the world focusing on multi-platform innovation, organizational integration, and customer-driven editorial management to deliver multimedia content 24-7 across all platforms. He is currently working with the University of Virginia on their print and digital publications after finishing projects with a Czech magazine and newspaper publishing company in Prague, a Washington, DC B2B magazine company, and a Norwegian newspaper group.