"View Fraud" Costing Advertisers Billions: How Top Advertisers are Cutting Wasted Spend [Survey Results]

Ad fraud cost brands $16.4 billion globally in 2017. Let's let that number sink in for a moment.

We asked 100 Heads of Online and Digital Marketing from some of the top advertisers how they’re developing strategies to cope with challenges around viewability and transparency.

Budgets have gone up, with a spend of at least a fifth of their budget on programmatic marketing by 61% of advertisers, and that set to rise to 87% of advertisers two years from now. The ability to judge the success of a campaign is one of the main draws of such advertising, with reporting insights ranked the most attractive element of programmatic marketing.

Although our research has shown many are considering bringing programmatic advertising in-house to cut down on costs and gain more control, advertisers currently feel fairly confident in their ability to measure the success of a programmatic campaign.

To find out more about how the top programmatic marketers are tackling these problems, take a look at this year’s line-up for the Programmatic Pioneers Summit.


But programmatic marketing is involved in a complex eco-system, meaning advertisers don’t always get the transparency they want. The problem is especially prevalent when agencies withhold information about on-page placement, or where on the internet their advert is being shown.

A vast majority of advertisers set viewability rate goals for their programmatic campaigns, but only 35% of respondents are taking control of their ads at the level of on-page placement. Without control over their campaigns, the goals for viewability become somewhat arbitrary. However, the potential for wasted spend extends beyond the interactions between advertisers and agencies.


Combatting view fraud is a high priority issue for programmatic advertisers, with 31% utilising specific verification software to ensure their content is being viewed by the right people and 21% reporting that demand side platforms and exchanges are proactively blocking suspicious sites. However, this leaves a third of advertisers who are concerned about viewability fraud and have no system in place to deal with it, leaving them vulnerable to waste their time and money.


A large part of this wasted spend comes from bot traffic. Although 17% have limited or no visibility into bot traffic, a majority reported having full visibility, and a further 32% and are working with partners to identify networks with questionable traffic and avoid bots. The discrepancy between the amount of recognition the problem of bot traffic has and the number of people taking steps to deal with it clearly indicates a need for better solutions.


Similarly, advertisers are split over how to tackle adblocking. The majority of respondents reported concern over the use of adblockers, but the community has yet to reach a consensus on how to solve the problem. Among the top solutions, most seemed to favour denying the user access. Others paid the adblocker or the user, and many relied on communicating with the user with a straightaway plea, while a few were using ad reinsertion technology to make sure their ads were seen.

The nature of programmatic advertising is transparency, knowing exactly what you’re paying for and having the data to confirm its value. The other edge of this sword is that programmatic marketers are well aware of the problems they face, long before they have the chance to create solutions. These issues and more will be discussed in detail at the Programmatic Pioneers Summit, download the agenda to find out more.

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