New research from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and cybersecurity firm White Ops states the amount of online advertising fraud will decrease to $5.8 billion in 2019, down from $6.5 billion in 2018. The research also shows spending on digital ads increased by 25.4% since 2017.

In a statement, White Ops’ CEO Tamer Hassan attributed the statistics to online advertisers benefiting from new and increasingly effective tactics at detecting online fraud.

“We are coming off a year of unprecedented industry collaboration that has proved to be a powerful tool for tackling ad fraud at a global scale,” he said.  “But it is important to remember that fraud will always follow the money. As spending moves into new ad frontiers like CTV, it is increasingly important for marketers to stay vigilant and to recognize that fraud is a cybersecurity problem, not merely a measurement challenge and cannot be handled as such.”

The data was presented in organizations’ 2019 “Bot Baseline Report”, released at the ANA’s annual Advertising Financial Management Conference.

The report emphasizes that while fraud is down, it’s not for lack of fraudsters trying. It’s estimated that between 20-35% of all ad impressions per year are attempted fraud. ANA CEO Bob Liodice attributed the lower success rate to advertisers’ increased ability to effectively respond to attacks.

 “The decrease in ad fraud suggests that the war on fraud is winnable,” he said. “Less fraud means more resources can be devoted to brand and business building.”

The report also specifically cites IAB Tech Lab’s anti-spoofing protocol ads.txt – which publishers can use to verify providers selling media sales – as one of the technologies making an impact. In addition, the increased cost and difficulty of buying effective bot traffic, as well as the increasing prevalence of fraud prevention on the buy-side platforms advertisers frequent, as key factors in decreasing the overall rate of fraud.

Recommendations for individual advertisers to reduce the impact of fraud include only using platforms with ads.txt, not buying ads on high-risk sites, and insisting on independent validation of data.

The full report is available from the ANA upon request.


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