Monetary losses from ad fraud are improving, report shows

Steps being taken to block bot fraud are working around the world.

In 2019, the monetary damage due to ad fraud is expected to be $5.8 billion globally – and while still unacceptable, the economic loss is an improvement of 11 percent from 2017, according to a new report.

The fourth Bot Baseline report from White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers reveals that fraud attempts still make up about 20 to 35 percent of all ad impressions year-round, yet the amount of fraud getting through and being paid for is decreasing. The 11 percent drop in economic losses from 2017 ($6.5 billion) to the expected total of $5.8 billion this year is also significant because digital ad spend jumped 25.4 percent in the last two years.

The report revealed that eight percent of display ad impressions are fraudulent, which is down from 9 percent in 2017 and 14 percent of video ads are fake, a drop of 22 percent.

"We are coming off a year of unprecedented industry collaboration that has proved to be a powerful tool for tackling ad fraud at a global scale," said Tamer Hassan, CEO and co-founder at White Ops, in a statement. 

He added: "But it is important to remember that fraud will always follow the money. As spending moves into new ad frontiers like CTV, it is increasingly important for marketers to stay vigilant and to recognize that fraud is a cybersecurity problem, not merely a measurement challenge and cannot be handled as such."

According to the report, the IAB Tech Lab’s Ads.txt has helped reduce desktop spoofing. Additionally, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and their Certified Against Fraud program, as well as other groups working together to dismantle botnets, have made it more expensive and less efficient to buy sophisticated bot traffic.

"The decrease in ad fraud suggests that the war on fraud is winnable," said ANA CEO Bob Liodice, in a statement. "Less fraud means more resources can be devoted to brand and business building."

The study includes insights from 50 ANA member companies. White Ops worked with advertisers and their agencies to analyze digital advertising activity data between August 1 and September 30 of last year for the report.

Subscribe today for just $116 a year

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free