Compromised, complicit or somewhere in between, not all players within the digital ad ecosystem are treating ad fraud as a crime.
There are partners across the digital supply chain—brands, agencies, adtech vendors, publishers—that are deliberately profiting from fraud, and by extension, deliberately supporting organised crime.
That money then makes its way into other forms of crime, including drugs and prostitution. That’s according to a comprehensive 2018 study on cybercriminals by criminologist Michael McGuire on behalf of Bromium, which found that 40% of cybercriminals spend their money either reinvesting in cybercrime or on drugs and sex. Just short of one-third (30%) invest into value holdings such as property, art and wine, while 15% spend their money on lavish items like expensive jewellery to attain status or to impress others. So brand money is at best buying lamborghinis for Russian mobsters, and at worse, much darker things.
There are also partners within advertising that are doing their utmost to stop fraud, even if it is to the detriment of their business, and others caught somewhere in the middle, not fully trying to uncover the problem. The full spectrum exists. As with many issues in advertising, nothing is black and white.
But as much as perception is a challenge, it all boils down to metrics
Fraud has thrived so well in the advertising industry because the business model of advertising has always been driven by acquiring eyeballs, and as the old adage goes, money follows eyeballs (and fraud follows money).
Laura Quigley, the Southeast Asia managing director of Integral Ad Science, says: “The advertiser will be the one at a loss because no one is seeing that ad, yet marketers are not moving off these KPIs. We need to review what does success look like for a brand”.
The full article first appeared on Campaign Asia with the title ‘Is the industry incentivised to tackle ad fraud when it is — inadvertently or not — profiting from it?’. Read the full article.
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