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The Resource Center / Ad Fraud

Ad Fraud FAQ

Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about ad fraud. You can also refer to the ANA’s “The Bot Baseline: Fraud in Digital Advertising” here.

How common is ad fraud?

In 2014, White Ops found that approximately 11% of display advertising impressions were fraudulent. That number remains relatively consistent.

How much money is ad fraud costing advertisers?

Estimates suggest that ad fraud will cost advertisers $7.2 billion in 2016—an increase of 15% from last year.

Who is committing ad fraud?

This is a complicated question. Generally speaking, a supplier between the advertiser and the website is the source of the problem. Sometimes that supplier is sourcing bots, other times they are the victims of someone else trying to make an audience look larger. As such, programmatic ad buys are often subject to higher rates of ad fraud.

How do bots work?

Within the context of ad fraud, bots consume ads on websites without permission or mimic a human click on an advertisement causing advertisers to pay for marketing that was never delivered to an actual human.

What are some ways that publishers are trying to prevent ad fraud?

Research suggests there are a few things publishers can do to combat ad fraud: strictly vet traffic from third parties; use more factors than viewability to determine whether an impression is fraudulent or not; maintain visibility and control of inventory; use retargeting sparingly.

How can an advertiser tell if he has been the victim of ad fraud?

There are a few tell-tale signs of fraudulent clicks. Look for a high volume of clicks coming from the same IP address, repetitive or duplicate clicking, and the timing of the clicks. Also, if you see a peak in clicks but no corresponding increase in conversions, be suspicious. Find more advice here.