The problem with a media channel where everything is counted is that the numbers rarely match up. Media traffic fraud has been a big issue since the late 90s, and this month another initiative kicks off to try and reduce online media traffic fraud. The US arm of the Interactive Advertising Bureau has issued guidelines [...]

The problem with a media channel where everything is counted is that the numbers rarely match up. Media traffic fraud has been a big issue since the late 90s, and this month another initiative kicks off to try and reduce online media traffic fraud.



The US arm of the Interactive Advertising Bureau has issued guidelines to reduce traffic fraud, which leads to an estimated $6 billion to $7 billion in wasted media dollars.
The guidelines explain how to cut down on robotic traffic (or “bots”) infiltrating legitimate publisher inventory.
While estimates vary, traffic fraud has never represented a greater threat to online advertising, according to the IAB.
"It is currently getting worse despite the efforts of security, brand safety and other market players because not all sellers and buyers are able to and/or willing to be in lock step as we move down a path to filtering fraud," said Steve Sullivan, IAB's vice president of advertising technology.
‘Safe sourcing’
Measures such as click-through rate, completion rate, and last-touch attribution are easy for fruadsters to game, the IAB says.
As part of the guidelines, the trade body suggests that advertisers practice safe sourcing; trust only business partners who have earned trust; implement technology to detect and prevent fraud; and filter traffic through vendors who prioritize fraud detection.
Buyers in online media, meanwhile, have much to lose when it comes to traffic fraud. Yet taking steps to inspect the quality of their buys can go a long way toward preventing fraud in the digital marketplace.
Setting goals before buying media is generally a good practice, according to the IAB.
Specifically, buyers should list specific objectives for their media campaign, and avoid leaving objectives broad and open to interpretation.
Buyers should also be willing to pay the “real price” for the media they want. For example, pre-roll video targeted to a specific real human audience with good attention will cost more than linear video ads placed at random simply to increase views, the IAB notes.
Along with the new guidelines, the IAB has also published an educational backgrounder on how digital advertising fraud takes place, and why industry leaders should take action to eradicate such criminal activity.
View the guidelines here