Ad fraud continues to wreak havoc on businesses worldwide, costing them more than $40 billion this year alone, according to a recent report by digital media cyber-security specialists, CHEQ. Given the fact that the digital population has grown by over 30% due to the pandemic , and with that, opportunities to mislead have risen at similar speeds, these numbers are not surprising.
Digital ad fraud, including false social media impressions, inflating app store downloads posting fake reviews, or any intentional act that foils attempts from advertisements being shown to their intended targeted audience, is extremely risky for advertisers, publishers, and ad networks. With the digital advertising arena consisting of more and more intermediaries, fraudsters are finding new ways to conceal their illegitimate activity, always staying one step ahead.
The consequences of ad fraud are countless, but one of the most harrowing is the lack of trust it instills in consumers. 96 percent agree that they have little belief in digital advertising, leaving marketers with a huge challenge to prove their ads are legitimate. So is there anything organizations can do to prevent their hard-earned advertising dollars from going down the drain, along with consumer trust?
So far, fighting ad fraud through traditional approaches has proven to be unsuccessful at large. In 2020, fraudsters have refined their techniques even further, making it almost impossible to spot malicious activity online instantaneously. Fraudsters are able to identify when there is a real end-user, and where there is not – for example, they can pick up ‘non-users’ (such as ad monitoring tools) using detection tools that analyze parameters such as the IP address, browser, device, etc, and in turn, quickly hide their malicious activity accordingly.
The only proven way to fight ad fraud is if the fraudsters themselves have no knowledge they’re being watched. This is possible using data collection networks based on residential IP addresses, and simulating the presence of a regular consumer.
The lowdown on IP proxy networks
So why are more and more businesses, including e-commerce companies, marketing agencies, security firms, and financial service providers, adopting online data collection platforms based on IP proxy networks, and how exactly do they help? These platforms are based on typical consumers’ IP addresses who have willingly and actively contributed their IP address in return for a significant benefit. These networks enable businesses to view the internet transparently, and in turn, access any openly available online data without being blocked or served misleading information. This allows businesses to access clean, reliable data in real-time from anywhere in the world.
As advertising campaigns are highly personalized, their success is dependent on reaching the exact demographic they are aiming to target. Demographic targeting is based on an individual’s IP address, therefore to view ads just like your desired target audience does, you’ll need to have access to an IP address based in the same market – from the same country, city, or even device.
The only way brands can effectively verify and test their advertising campaigns, and ensure that they reach their intended target audience is by viewing the internet just like the consumers they’re trying to target – no matter where they are located or which device or internet service provider they are using. With an IP proxy network, they’re able to do just that. Not only can advertisers verify and test their campaigns, but they can also see the range of different ads being presented to their target audience, competing for their attention, and adjust their own ads accordingly.
In 2021 and beyond, IP networks will surely continue to serve brands serious about getting the most bang for their advertising buck, and not falling in the growing ad fraud traps