The latest numbers around fraud, this time from ANA and White Ops, are certainly disheartening: 23% of video ads served to bots. 11% of display ads. A global waste of $6.3B in 2015 if these numbers are accurate and defenses remain static.
And we have no reason to believe the numbers are false. Our own Chris Le May recently wrote that when digital and programmatic are attracting this much money, it’s a cinch to expect the fraudsters will follow.
Four things are worth thinking about when these studies come out.
- Fraud sucks. But it’s also an indicator of the health of a market. Fraudsters follow investment. If programmatic wasn’t working, brands would shift budget elsewhere, and fraud would decline. And the opposite is happening. TV grew 4.8% according to Magna’s December 2014 report (below their spring forecast of 8.6%). Digital is up 15.6%.
- Our industry is big, getting bigger and diffuse. There’s a lot of finger pointing and “Not my job” in the air. That’s means it’s going to take a while for the scales to tip in favor of the good guys.
- One view is to give up on programmatic and say “fraud can’t be fixed.” That ultra-conservative approach guarantees reduced fraud, but it also guarantees low performance.
- A better approach, in our view, is to demand that your buy side partners deliver a guarantee around fraud. That way, you don’t have to worry.
Yup. We do that last bit. We offer customers a 97% fraud free guarantee. Check here for details, but big picture, we’re approaching this in a manner similar to how banks and credit card companies approached the phishing email and identity theft waves when online banking was invented: Give customers an assurance that they can participate fully in this new world without losing their shirts.