There is a view around paid media that its still the most effective way to deliver 'reach'.
Some of which I might subscribe to if I wasn't aware of empirical and overwhelming evidence that flags up the consumer telling us that ad skipping, ad blocking, GDPR and fraud are clear signs that it could be the opposite?
Once upon a time, brands could reach millions of consumers organically without spending any money on paid media. All they needed were “friends” who would wait with bated breath for the latest branded content.
Pre-Covid in ad tech land there were over 7k companies who all have a vested interest in perpetuating the myth that 'paid media' is the only way for brands to go.
In addition to these guys it's clearly in any media agency's interest that you continue to place your marketing budget around a strategy based on reach, after all that's how they make their money as well.
Media agencies make money from ad fraud, even if they are not the ones deploying the bots themselves (hint: they don't have the engineering talent to pull that off themselves).
Today fraud in paid media is still big business, in simple terms if the traffic stats look great there probably bots.
Source: ISBA 2022 Study Summary
As an advertiser and ad buyer, would you be satisfied with knowingly only 4% of what you bought could be successfully traced from end to end through the programmatic supply chain?
Put another way, 96% of the impressions could not be matched end-to-end. That means unknown parties could be profiting off of your digital ad budgets, including sanctioned websites, hate speech sites, disinformation sites, etc.
I was recently asked a simple question, by someone relatively new to adtech -- "if there's so much fraud, who's making all that money?" My answer surprised him.
My answer was "everyone." He was expecting me to tell him about crime syndicates, nation states, and master hackers like the ones aggrandized in TV shows and movies. But the proceeds of ad fraud are far more mundane and widespread than that. Any fraud investigator will tell you that the most reliable way to find fraud is to "follow the money." source Augustine Fou
As more and more web browsers are having to adapt or die in the increasingly draconian world of data privacy, the impact is being felt none more so than in the industry that continues to assume the mantle of 'Emperors New Clothes, which is that of the programmatic ad tech industry.
A technical solution that allowed brands to bid in real time and stretch their message to as broad a number of people as possible is finally having to wake up to the fact it has truly shot itself in the ad tech foot.
There is a growing online movement with the hashtag #turnoffadtech and it seems to be having a positive effect on a number of global FMCG brands who turned off ad tech and felt no real impact on sales, or brand awareness.
If you use Safari then the intrusive ad industry has almost given up on you, which for me is a great thing, what about you?
Publishers, good and bad, make money from ad fraud, even if they are not the ones deploying the bots themselves. Some do. We call those "vertically integrated bad guys" because why pay an outside vendor for bot traffic when you can just as easily manufacture the fake traffic yourself.