Ad fraud, viewability and adblocking - what's the biggest threat?

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 24 February 2016

There's no doubt there are plenty of challenges ahead for the media, advertising and marketing world in 2016, but what is it that's keeping some of the industry's hotshots awake at night?

During yesterday's Programmatic Summit in Sydney, organised by IAB and Ashton Media, hundreds of curious ad tech fans filled the room housing a panel that was addressing the industry hot topics of ad fraud, adblocking and viewability.

Within the debate, which touched on dubious web traffic, weeding out useless tech partners and encouraging more industry collaboration, the panel moderator, Comscore ANZ VP Lachlan Brahe, asked the group what the biggest risk to the industry is.

Digital ad development director at Fairfax, Tereza Alexandratos, said: "I think adblocking is the biggest risk if it escalates because it obviously just destroys the industry as a whole."

Head of interactive at OMD, Dan Robins, said while ad fraud is a "big big pain at the moment" with the right tools and technology this can be mitigated against and managed.

"Viewability, as sites develop, as the whole web develops, starts to go away, but adblocking, that's the one that is full on intrinsic to our industry - both from the way we've acted previously in terms of the type of message we've put out and the way we've bought, and on the other side to how then consumers are reacting to it - that's the one that scares me the most," Robins explains.

Head of media technology solutions at Google, Rhys Williams, agreed with Alexandratos and Robins in that adblocking is the highest risk to the sector.

"Viewability is something that buyers and sellers can solve themselves. Ad fraud is something that can get solved, with lot of work, but when it comes to user, the people who are actually engaging with our content and with our ads, if they push back against it (with adblocking) then everything else - we can forget about," Williams says.

Head of trading and programmatic at Yahoo7, Ben Chamlet, instead argued that ad fraud was a bigger concern.

"For me it's ad fraud. Adblocking in my view has been around in desktop for a long time and doesn't really impact ad revenues," he explained.

Chamlet added that while there may be a 'hump' in terms of the adoption of adblocking, this will subsequently be addressed within the user experience and will improve the overall consumption of ads.

"I think in ad fraud there's the biggest amount to be made by organisations that really want to keep ahead of the technology that detects what they are up to. I think that financial motivation is the more of a scary thing," Chamlet says.

What do you think the industry's biggest concerns are right now? Comment below and let us know.

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