[REPORT] Up to $9.5 Billion in FraudWritten by Michael Levanduski
September 12, 2013 # 10:02 am # Industry News, Legal Challenges, Marketing Insights, Specials # 8 Comments
A report was recently released by Solve Media which estimates that the global digital advertising industry is going to be spending about $9.5 Billion in advertising to bots and other non-human entities. The mobile advertising is also being seen by a growing number of bots. The report finds that between 43 and 46% of web advertising and 29-35% of mobile advertising is displayed to ‘suspicious’ visitors. As the online advertising budgets continue to grow, the non-human audience is going up as well.
The fact that such a high percentage of traffic is suspicious in nature may cause some marketers to reconsider their advertising strategies. One of the big benefits of online advertising in the past has been that it would be seen by actual people, and often people interested in the specific ads being seen. Television and radio advertisements have always had a large percentage of their market disengaged (going to the refrigerator for another beer, for example) but that wasn’t the case with the web, or at least that’s what many people though.
According to Adam O’Donnel, the Chief Architect, Cloud Technology Group at Sourcefire and Solve Media Security council member, “Analysis has shown that bot traffic affecting the online advertising ecosystem has grown from 10% to at least 24% in less than a year. Protecting website publishers from automated submissions, spam, attacks and other types of fraudulent activity must become a crucial industry priority.”
One question many people will undoubtedly have is concerning who is responsible for monitoring and combating the bot traffic. The Ad networks may claim to be against this type of activity, and even take some steps to stop it when possible; they will still make their money on the ads. It is the brands and marketers who are most directly affected, and they will need to begin applying pressure to the ad networks in order to accomplish real change.
In addition to causing up to $9.5 Billion in wasted advertiser dollars, these bots are also taking up a significant amount of bandwidth, infecting user computers with malware, stealing publisher content and causing a variety of other issues online. It seems that it may be time for some additional policing of the Internet, though who should do it, and how it should be done, is certainly still up for debate.