Technology

Ad Association Takes On Click Fraud With New Coalition

Fighting the perception that automated traffic is a fact of online life for marketers, the Association of National Advertisers is doing research into the effect that bots have on click rates, with the goal of stopping click fraud once and for all.

Fighting the perception that automated traffic is a fact of online life for marketers, the Association of National Advertisers is doing research into the effect that bots have on click rates, with the goal of stopping click fraud once and for all.

It’s no secret that click fraud is a big headache for the digital ad industry.

As the Interactive Advertising Bureau pointed out earlier this year, the share of machine-generated automated web traffic is somewhere around 36 percent, which means that bots— not humans—are seeing the ads more than a third of the time. It also means that advertisers aren’t getting what they’re paying for.

Rather than accept this state of affairs, a leading ad-industry group is doing something about it. The Association of National Advertisers, along with online-fraud-detection firm White Ops and 30 well-known brands from an array of companies, aims to develop data on bot fraud and ways to reduce it through a new research study called “The Marketers’ Coalition.” Another goal is to improve return on investment of marketing efforts.

The coalition’s member companies, which ANA declined to name in its announcement this week, will have their ads tagged by White Ops to let them know the overall fraud rates for their ads. The results will be provided privately to the companies in individual reports and then be aggregated and shared with the rest of the industry during the fourth quarter.

“This will allow individual participants to benchmark their specific findings against the industry, leading to specific knowledge on ad budget waste and intelligence that will allow for stronger future negotiation and media mix optimization,” Bill Duggan, the association’s executive vice president, wrote in the announcement.

In comments on the initiative, White Ops CEO Michael J.J. Tiffany rejected the notion that automated traffic is a “victimless crime.”

“Corrupt data on campaign targeting and effectiveness harms brands and businesses, and the money made by criminals funds an underground that perpetrates many other forms of crime,” Tiffany said in a news release. “Criminals have further benefited from confusion and uncertainty in scoping the problem. This concerted effort is a way to normalize the data, establish better intelligence, and present a unified front.”

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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