WSJ: Bot fraud a ‘Crisis’ for Digital Advertising

We all want to get what we pay for.  So if you’re a digital advertiser, hearing that “36% of all Web traffic is considered fake” might just make you hesitate before signing off on that next big spend.


In a March 2014 article, WSJ discusses a problem most of us have been aware of for a long time: Increasing reliance on automated digital ad buys combined with an onslaught of technically savvy con-men has led to an immense amount of fraud across the digital advertising landscape. About $6 billion worth of fraud.

Despite rampant criminal activity, overall digital spend is still projected to increase “to $50 billion in the U.S. this year. That would be about 28% of total U.S. ad spending. Just five years ago, digital accounted for 16%.”  Instead of cutting budgets, “advertisers are getting more aggressive in monitoring what they are getting and in demanding reimbursement if fraud is uncovered.”

The industry’s acknowledgement of this widespread con has, in part, led to the popularity of native advertising:  An alternative to traditional display that focuses more on integrating into a quality digital environment than serving ads to unknown sites based on data alone. By their very nature, these campaigns provide more transparency, are more engaging, and provide less room for fraudulent activity.  AdAdapted discusses this trend with agency media buyers often: Their clients want to want to see more “high-impact” placements and user engagement, and less blind programmatic buys that will send their ads “who knows where?”.

For more, see the Wall Street Journal article in its entirety here: A ‘Crisis’ in Online Ads: One-Third of Traffic Is Bogus


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *