To better understand the extent to which bot fraud penetrates the digital advertising ecosystem and how to combat it, the Association of National Advertisers is embarking on a month-long study tracking the campaigns of 30 advertisers. The initiative is dubbed “The Marketers’ Coalition.”
The participating advertisers have not been named, but are said to include some of “the world’s most recognizable brands” across a wide range of industries.
Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA said in the announcement “The findings will be integrated into a broad ecosystem effort to minimize fraud. This ongoing effort is jointly led by the IAB, 4As and the ANA and is focused on creating a trustworthy digital supply chain.”
Digital ad spending continues to grow — eMarketer estimates digital advertising will increase 14.8 percent this year to represent a quarter of all media ad spend worldwide — but reports of bots accounting for as much as half of advertisers’ digital ad spend are shaking confidence in the market. The Internet Advertising Bureau recently called the state of web traffic fraud a “crisis”.
There is debate within the industry about the extent of the fraud, with some like Douglas de Jager of spider.io, the traffic monitoring firm acquired by Google, calling reports by some monitoring firms “disingenuous scaremongering”, but there is general agreement that fraud exists and that perpetrators continue to adapt, particularly as ad buying and selling becomes more automated.
The ANA hopes this study will get advertisers more involved in tackling fraud issues. “Marketers must be proactive to fully understand the issue and identify solutions”, said Bill Duggan, ANA, Group EVP. The ANA says that aggregated results and recommendations will be shared with the industry at some point in the fourth quarter.