mFilterIt is like a value-added antivirus for brand and performance campaigns, marketing and advertising news, AND BrandEquity
The pandemic has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for digital adoption. Industry experts believe the growth in digital media over the past 20 months is greater than what a marketing director ever expected for the next decade. Brands and consumers had no choice but to adapt. Today, almost all brands, even latecomers, have a digital strategy to engage with their audiences.
It has resulted in an exponential increase in the volume of advertising on the medium and in transactions. According to an annual report from GroupM, digital ad spend is expected to reach Rs 27,000 crore at a CAGR of 28% in 2021. Now, the big challenge facing brands is to ensure a safe, fraud and bot free environment for its customers. consumers.
Advertising fraud is a big threat and people in the advertising ecosystem are increasingly worried about it. No brand would want their ads to show to an audience outside of their target audience, ads around illegitimate and deceptive content, and rigged data delivered through bots. It’s a waste of advertising dollars. Globally, according to the Statista report, nearly $ 81 billion in advertising money will be lost in 2022 due to advertising fraud. The number is even expected to rise to Rs 3500 cr annually in the Indian context.
This is a big deal because it not only leads to wasting money but also derails a brand’s campaign from the desired goal.
ETBrandEquity spoke with mFilterIt Co-Founders – Dhiraj Gupta and Amit Relan to learn more about the global ad fraud scenario in India and around the world, how brands are dealing with it, how technology can be deployed to counter this problem, what kind of laws are needed and what else to do about it. Extracts: –
Q) How do you define ad fraud?
Simply put, ad fraud is a sophisticated fraud in the digital landscape where crooks increase performance through a set of techniques, like a bot opening a site multiple times while consuming ad inventory. While this helps meet set reach goals, it doesn’t lead to commensurate performance because the ads weren’t served to real humans. A brand does not get any revenue by wasting advertising money. This is made even worse because one cannot do a physical verification of a digital ad as one can do when verifying an ad in a print newspaper or magazine.
In addition, brands should also be aware of the safety of the brand. When serving advertisements online, they may end up placing the advertisement on adult sites or drug sites, creating a negative impact on the brand identity.
To manage this, the brand needs to understand how this ecosystem works so that teams can identify if there is incorrect information circulating or wasted advertising dollars.
Q) So what are the risks of ad fraud for a brand?
Ad fraud has major implications for a brand which includes the loss of money on networks and the inability to get the best return on investment. Moreover, due to skewed data due to ad fraud in campaigns, it leads to bad decisions, adding fuel to the fire.
Not only that, but there is also a lack of trust between a brand and a consumer if a brand does not take proactive measures to ensure brand safety. For example, if a brand’s ad is shown alongside terrorism-related content or adult-only content, the brand’s reputation takes a hit.
As sophisticated forms of technology evolve, scammers are constantly evolving their scam techniques to pocket advertising dollars. All of these issues affect the brand’s identity, reputation and compromise brand safety.
Q) In the Indian ecosystem, are brands aware of ad fraud and seriously considering this issue?
The Indian advertising ecosystem has come a long way since the creation and adoption of digital advertising media. Due to cases of data breaches and security breaches over the past few years, these issues have now become the focus of board discussions. The challenges and threats have now been identified, but the ecosystem has yet to take an action-oriented approach to tackling the digital war of ad fraud.
If an advertiser or brand invests in ad fraud solutions, they not only tackle their problems, but clean up the entire ecosystem (because that means less money for fraudulent publishers)
As mFilterIt, we are a positive ROI tool. Once the fraudulent elements are identified and blocked, the return on investment of the campaign improves by 15-20%, another reason to invest in such solutions which give more return than the actual ad spend.
Q) What kinds of checks and balances are needed for brands to fight ad fraud?
Data is the new oil, for obvious reasons. Any data that isn’t used is like sitting on a gold mine and forgetting how to mine it in the first place.
Brands need to be comfortable with the “use” of data; Analyzing the data going beyond impressions and clicks is imperative. There has to be a sense of understanding the data, like analyzing data models, what didn’t work, whether the data makes sense or not. These patterns include – massive clicks, unwanted leads, people sharing wrong information, high traffic coming in spikes and many more.
Every brand should have dedicated data analysts on their team and the right people with the skills to understand data and control campaigns. In case that isn’t possible, third-party solutions like mFilterIt get the job done transparently.
Q. So at what point in the evolution of a brand does it realize the need for an ad fraud solution?
We have often observed that once the advertiser has run a campaign and spent a few dollars, the return on investment for them is very minimal. Many other KPIs indicate that something is wrong somewhere when they get low conversion rates, unwanted leads, and low ROI. Red flag! It is only then that realization hits that their campaigns are married to ad fraud and it is time to find a solution for it.
Prevention is better than cure, and every brand should ensure they deploy tools and solutions early in the campaign to deal with fraudulent elements.
Q) Is there a difference between mobile ad fraud and web ad fraud or are they the same?
In the case of the web, you are browsing Chrome or Safari which already has restrictions on what type of data can be accessed, the type of information a website can automatically extract. And, what’s more, if you want to shut down a website, all you need to do is close the website or browser and it won’t run. However, in an app, the moment an app is installed, it runs continuously on the phone until the app is uninstalled. So even if the app is not in use, it’s there on your phone, it reads your data, triggers ads, can open in the background, open webpages, open videos, and it will be. considered as a viewer watching these videos, as if you are watching these commercials continuously.
In India, we have generally found that ad fraud is geared more towards app marketing, but the web, OTT and social media are not far behind. With India being a prime mobile market, there are enough dollars spent promoting mobile apps and running mobile apps as inventory.
Q) Are there laws in place to combat advertising fraud?
The government is pushing for protection of the consumers’ point of view against advertising fraud. However, I think it is a matter of two – three years before there are stricter laws. We need to make it a secure environment. Governments and regulators also need to be aware that the problem cannot be solved by one person and that all ecosystem stakeholders must join the train in the fight against the war on ad fraud.
Q. Who are the bad guys in the ad fraud ecosystem? And what are the risks brands face because of them?
The cool part about ad fraud is that you can’t figure out who the bad guy is. In the age of digitalization, the good guys and the bad guys are digital too. They are hidden in so many digital layers that it makes them extremely difficult to find. And globally, and in India as well, ad fraud is not illegal. So even if you find the culprit, there is no law to help you bring him to justice.
Q) So what solutions does mFilterIt offer against ad fraud?
We cover the entire spectrum, including when a brand serves ads on programs, walled gardens, affiliate performance campaigns, or YouTube.
We provide branded security solutions; whether a campaign is running on adult content, terrorist sites, gambling, drug-related content. A marketer can pick and choose what works for them and what doesn’t and is then able to deal with and block them. We remove these items to make sure the campaign is safe and secure. We also monitor for issues of trademark infringement, bogus websites, counterfeit products, etc. Our tools can report such issues and help resolve them.
Our code is integrated into the brand’s campaign manager, landing pages or their app. We then process all of their data to report the problem and make sure action is taken in real time.
Sometimes, if it requires a previous audit, the source can also be passive offline data.
You can find more information about mFilterIt on their homepage: https://mfilterit.com/