‘Marketers need to take steps to defend themselves against ad fraud’

Responsibility falls on marketers to protect their brands from ad fraud, as well as trade industry bodies and the advertising ecosystem according to brands at Advertising Week Europe today (23 March). Executives from AutoTrader and the BBC were among those that agreed with the sentiment during a panel discussion.

Executives agreed that with the rise in use of programmatic trading for advertising, actors across the ecosystem need to focus on preventing ad fraud as it limits advertisers abilities to get quality advertising seen by human beings.

However, Tom Bowman, SVP sales and operations for BBC Advertising believes that although responsibility lies throughout the programmatic ecosystem, the BBC has also taken steps to protect itself from fraud.

“Responsibility to prevent ad fraud lies in the value chain and media owners. It’s everyone’s responsibility, but you don’t always see that responsibility acted out in the industry so you’ve got to watch out because no one will watch out for you,” added Bowman.

Bowman said that the BBC has worked with The Media Trust to prevent fraud across its systems. This works across its data management platforms and ad serving systems, which now have the technology to limit fraud.

Online ad fraud has become known for bots that falsify human impressions and ads that are delivered on poor content platforms, but it has now also spread to falsifying conversions on retailer websites, according to Edward Thomas, head of product for programmatic buying platform Accuen.

Richard Robinson, programmatic manager for AutoTrader, said that the brand has taken steps to prevent fraud on its website as it directly results in a loss of sales.

“We have rebuilt our website by using in house expertise to limit non-human traffic on the site,” said Robinson

Robinson said they do this by managing the URL data that comes from AutoTrader’s website browser to understand the users on its platform. The site limits users that send “red signals” or present reasons for concern on its platform.

Robinson promotes creating conversation between those on the demand and supply side of programmatic trading, he says: “It’s about using humans to create valuable relationships, the automation comes after.”

Thomas agreed that negotiating the terms brands want with media buyers, is the best method for fighting fraud.

“It is about understanding who you are working with and who you are buying from, by doing this our campaigns have worked better over time,” added Thomas.

Steve Chester, director of data and industry programmes, IAB UK described how the trade body has worked to define fraud and the guidelines it hopes to produce for better results for brands.

“Eventually everyone in the chain can be verified for how they tackle fraud. But, everyone also needs to have a filter of their own for minimising fraud,” he said.