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Five ways marketers can use analytics to combat ad fraud

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Data from ad campaigns has, in some ways, never been so important.

Data has become the way marketers know whether the brand messaging is right, what drives customers to purchase and where they should advertise in the future.

Fortunately, advertising data has also never been more available. Google, Facebook, and other ad platforms offer hundreds of ways to divide up their reports into segments and countless metrics for us to see how well various segments are performing.

So with how important and available ad data is, it is quite puzzling that there is so much fraud in digital advertising and how little is apparently being done about it.

Figures on the actual size of advertising fraud vary widely. Some claim that only 2% of ads are fraudulent while The Association of National Advertisers estimates that $7.2b was lost globally to nonhuman traffic in 2016. Ad fraud researcher Dr Augustine Fou, however, thinks the problem is even worse and estimates that $31b of the $70b in digital advertising spend buys fraudulent ads.

Regardless of the total size of the market, tales of the extent of ad fraud operations are breathtaking. Methbot, an ad fraud network busted in December 2016, had over 500,000 IP addresses and was consuming 300m impressions daily, costing advertisers up to $5m per day.

That one operation can make millions of dollars per day on ad fraud makes the situation seem hopeless. What can a brand do to combat ad fraud, especially one with a marketing department which already has resource and budget constraints?

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