I write quite a lot of blogs, they vary from my focus on the digital intrusions from the advertising industry, to how social media and content discovery is transforming companies of all shapes and sizes around the world who have realised that it's not just a place to 'advertise and promote' themselves.

If I told you that pre-Covid Ad Fraud was forecast to rise from $42bn 2019 to $100Bn by 2023, yup you read that number right  - $100 Billion by 2023 and that the industry has little control over it other than the obvious, you might be thinking the same as me 'why do companies and CMO's still accept this level of fraud'?.

The next level of fraud is going to be happening as 'programmatic' extends into the world of OTT, or in simple language for you and me, that set top box you watch all your TV through, they can now find new ways to 'interrupt' us there.. 

The research forecasts that spend on advertising over OTT (Over-the-Top) TV services will exceed $42 billion by 2023; rising from $28 billion in 2019. However, it found a lack of standardisation amongst OTT TV services leaves advertisers exposed to increased levels of fraud by simplifying the process needed to spoof advertising networks via connected TVs.

A couple of years ago (pre GDPR) circa 86% of ads were using behavioral targeting, a practice which is now becoming more difficult to do as the public grow more aware of how ad tech, and social media companies are using personal data without any real visibility of its value and end use.

This has had the effect of squeezing out non-targeted display ads, such as those that rely on contextual factors to select the ad — e.g. the content being viewed, device type or location.

The latter are now the exception; a fall-back such as for when cookies have been blocked.

I recently came across this article (link below) from online fraud detection expert Dr Augustine Fou and if your responsible for your companies digital ad budget I would suggest you connect and follow him.

As more digital ad dollars pour into video ads on streaming platforms, CTV (connected TV) fraud has also joined the party. There are amateur fraudsters who use bots pretending to be Roku streaming sticks to make money from CTV fraud. And there are more advanced fraud operations that rip off millions of dollars from marketers paying for CTV ads. A few very large cases of CTV fraud have already been uncovered recently — DiCaprio (January 2020), Monarch (March 2020), and IceBucket (April 2020).

These fraud levels are totally out of control yet the advertising industry simply refuses to openly acknowledge this to clients looking to part with media budget spend. Can you imagine the discussion 

Agency: "for every dollar/pound we're going to use from this campaign budget you need to agree for circa 50c - 75c to be written off for fraud!"

Incredulously it's seen as part of 'doing business' for brands and companies wanting to 'interrupt' what we're doing with those intrusive ads, and they have a self congratulatory pat of the back when they happily announce they have reduced this level of fraud by $5.8bn.........

"There is an alternative way - come with me"

With an internally aligned 'Social Media' strategy supported by skill based training from experts, and a good set of 'listening tools' you would think twice about why you would want to advertise ever again. 

No brand safety issues, no data privacy to worry about, reduced cost for focus and research groups, and best of all, unlike paid media where the cost increase exponentially as your campaign requires 'more reach' your social media cost remain static.