Contributed by Amanda Benoist, Marketing Content Strategist at Goodway Group

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For years, digital advertising agencies and their clients have seen billions lost to inefficiencies caused by fraudulent impressions. In 2016 alone, ad fraud will cost the programmatic ad industry $7.2 billion, according to a recent ANA finding. While many advertisers have written this off as the cost to play the game, others recommend a better understanding of how invalid traffic is reported in order to begin making a measurable impact in the fight against fraud.

We are now at a point where we know ad fraud is multi-dimensional. Non-human traffic, or simple bots, were a primary concern ten years ago, but advertisers today also have to be wary of sophisticated bots, click farms, invisible ads, user anomalies, and much more. And the more sophisticated fraudsters get, the more difficult it is for suppliers and regulating agencies to clearly identify instances of fraud. So how does your programmatic partner know what to buy and what not to buy anymore?

First, it’s not easy—there is a lot of gray area. An ad space that looks suspicious but can’t be easily or quickly labeled as fraud might make it into the inventory for one supplier, but not another. For example, past research has measured approximately 38% of all SSP programmatic traffic as invalid. Before you start to throw the baby out with the bathwater, consider this: leading ad verification agency Integral Ad Science has also reported seeing only 8.3% of fraud among SSP inventory. Who is right?

It depends on your risk tolerance. If you draw the fraud circle too wide, you may lose out on acceptable inventory and scalability. On the other hand, too much tolerance drives questionable placements and awkward questions from your clients.

The reality is most DSPs filter out fraudulent traffic fairly well, but user anomalies still account for a significant amount of fraud that bypasses traditional fraud filters and exchange-level controls. This is questionable inventory that doesn’t meet the strict definition of fraud, for instance, a site that goes from 0 views to 80k views in a single month. Only discerning human analysis can identify suspicious activities like these.

6-23-16 Goodway Anti-Fraud graphic

With fraud results as low as 1%, Goodway’s Anti-Fraud Initiative proves the need for vigilant human analysis to identify the suspicious activity that technology and algorithms alone can’t detect.

Ultimately, experience matters when addressing the challenges of digital advertising fraud. When it comes to identifying and removing fraud, Goodway is even more aggressive than top fraud protection companies. This year, we launched an advanced anti-fraud initiative based on the results from a comprehensive review of our supply ecosystem for invalid traffic and user anomalies. After analyzing billions of bid request data points and purchased impressions through a 10-dimensional algorithm, Goodway has seen fraud results as low as 1% become a reality.

How can you close the gap? If you’re ready to protect your client’s brand and your programmatic media budget from fraud, contact us now or watch our recent Goodway Anti-Fraud Initiative webinar and get actionable tips to reduce your exposure and maximize your campaigns.

Amanda Benoist

Amanda Benoist

A seasoned marketing pro with years of experience on both agency and client teams, Amanda brings valuable insight and solutions to today’s challenges in strategic communications, digital branding, and social media management. As marketing content strategist for Goodway Group, Amanda transforms complex digital media topics into easy-to-understand resources to keep all advertisers and marketers at the forefront of understanding the evolving programmatic landscape. Her favorite part of the job? She gets to share our compelling story with new audiences each and every day.