How will fraud impact programmatic in 2015?

Fraud is a major issue in digital advertising that will stay in the headlines in 2015. About 36% of traffic is considered fake, according to estimates cited by the IAB. This is a scary truth for buyers allocating so much of their budget to display and specifically open RTB. In fact, a major criticism of open ad exchanges is that they deliver fraudulent impressions. These blind-buying models are complicated and buyers often feel like they’re transacting within a black box.

The solution so far? Private marketplaces and automated guaranteed platforms offer transparency at a much higher level than open ad exchanges. Within a private marketplace, the buyer has clarity around the site or group of sites that their ad will run on, the audience and other data. Similarly with automated guaranteed, the buyer has even more transparency and data around the buy, including ad unit, where the ad appears on the site and more. More dollars may move to private exchanges and guaranteed direct platforms in 2015, but it’s clear that fraud will remain top of mind with buyers.

The IAB is also working hard to combat fraud. To address concerns regarding the unlawful spread of fraudulent traffic, the IAB released its series of three Anti-Fraud Principles:

  • Fraud Detection – Suppliers must implement technological and business practices to identify ad bots and illegitimate human activity, and prevent such traffic from being sold 
  • Source Identification – Suppliers should provide assurances to buyers that inventory is from a legitimate source; one way to achieve this is by providing the specific URL of an ad placement
  • Process Transparency – Suppliers must provide details of the business and technical processes they have employed to meet the first two principles

Fraud may still be a major concern and deterrent for programmatic buying in 2015, but different players in the industry are implementing safeguards to help ease buyer anxieties. We'll see what sort of impact it will have on programmatic next year.

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