Ad fraud will cost businesses $35 billion this year alone, with an additional $5 billion in indirect social and economic costs, according to a recent report by digital media cyber-security specialists CHEQ. In fact, digital ad fraud is forecast to overtake today’s $27 billion in credit card fraud as criminals’ go-to medium. This is no surprise given the online population’s rapid growth as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
To clarify, digital ad fraud is an intentional activity that prevents advertisements from being delivered to the right audience or location. The malicious risks marketers face today are getting increasingly sophisticated, and therefore greater, than previously anticipated.
The digital advertising environment now involves thousands of intermediaries, presenting a plethora of dark corners in which fraudsters can conceal criminal activity. Fraudsters know when they’re being watched and have become even more dangerous, making it all the more challenging to prevent ad fraud.
As a result, 96 per cent of consumers say they have little trust in digital advertising – making it harder for marketers to demonstrate that their ads are legitimate. So what steps should organisations take to prevent losing much of their budget to fraud and, with it, consumer trust?
Traditional approaches to combating ad fraud have proven unsuccessful so far. During 2020, fraudsters consistently evolved their techniques, making it extremely difficult to spot malicious activity related to online advertising in real-time. Some examples include creating false social media impressions, inflating app store downloads, or posting fake reviews.
The key to fighting ad fraud is to use technology that emulates a real user. This way, those involved in fraudulent activity will not know they are being watched. With data collection networks based on residential IP addresses, one can simulate the presence of legitimate users. To date, this has been proven to be the only effective way to fight fraudsters.
Data collection strategies built on IP proxy networks are already being used by thousands of global brands and businesses. Large enterprises, e-commerce companies, financial service providers, security firms and marketing agencies are all using IP proxy networks. Doing so allows them to view the internet openly, with the same complete transparency as the typical consumer.
The value of IP proxy networks – unlocked
Data collection platforms based on IP proxy networks enable businesses to access any openly available online data without being blocked or deliberately served misleading information. This gives businesses access to clean, reliable data in real time from anywhere in the world. As every advertising campaign is constructed from complex and extended digital journeys of ad content, it’s crucial for advertisers to ensure their content reaches the exact demographic they are aiming to influence.
This demographic targeting is based on an individual’s IP address. To view ads just like your desired target audience does, marketers need to have access to an IP address originating from the same market – in other words, from the same country, city or even device.
Brands may be able to do this themselves, but they carry the risk of being identified by fraudsters who will quickly cover their own tracks. Fraudsters can spot when brands using non-consumer IP addresses are watching them. When they know they are being monitored, these fraudsters will quickly respond by showing your business false information so they can continue their malicious activities.
Therefore, if brands want to effectively verify and test their advertising campaigns, and ensure that they safely reach their target audience, they need a way of viewing the internet as if they were one of the millions of global consumers they target – no matter where they are located or which device or internet service provider they are using. With an IP proxy network, they can simply follow their advertising campaign just like their target audience is meant to do.
By using IP proxy networks, advertisers can test the different ads being presented to users, which are all competing for their attention. Take a social media brand, for instance. It could leverage an IP proxy network to split a user session and check all ads served to that particular user at that particular time, without being hijacked by fraudsters.
Why businesses need to be able to learn from fraudsters
In 2020, digital advertising has grown by 6 per cent despite the pandemic. Ad fraudsters have continued to develop new methods to identify a business’s advertising ‘soft spot ‘and exploit its revenue chain, and businesses should take a similar approach in response, taking advantage of new methods of prevention as they emerge.
Brands must protect themselves by using an IP Network, as this can leverage the real IP addresses of consumers, allowing businesses to see advertising campaigns exactly as real consumers see them. In short, this allows you to make sure that your ads are seen by the right people, in the right places, and at the right times – and that you get the right level of return on your ad spend.
To learn more about how you can fight ad fraud, increase ROI and protect your brand’s reputation through an IP proxy network, visit Luminati Networks’ website for specialist advice and a seven-day free trial.