Display ad fraud heads to 10%

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 23 April 2015
[Photo credit: Got Credit] A copy of the creative commons license can be found here

The level of display ad fraud in Australia is climbing towards the 10% mark, according to a new report from Integral Ad Science, and it could grow as a result of a clamp-down in the US.

Releasing its report today, Integral said the level of ad fraud in Australia was 8.7% on display, which while comparing favourably with Germany, the UK, and France, would still be of concern to Australian players, according to its Australian managing director James Diamond.

“To see that figure creeping up to 10% is really a warning sign from our point of view,” Diamond told AdNews.

“So it's higher than the industry thinks, so assuming that it's going down all the time because everybody's working to stamp it out probably isn't correct right now.”

CEO for the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Alice Manners, said the result was broadly positive.

“This is an important first step in contextualising ad fraud for stakeholders, and compares favourably with US figures which indicate 36% of all web traffic is from bots,” Manners told AdNews.

“So from that perspective, I think it's a positive number.”

The report also included figures from the US which indicated that 4% of ad fraud was occurring on inventory served by publishers, while 16.5% was served by networks and ad exchanges. Integral is working on a split for the Australian market, which will be published later this year.

“It's always been assumed there's a larger risk attached to that ad exchange inventory because it's cheaper, but having numbers around it helps marketers think about the amount they want to pay for it,” Diamond said.

Diamond said while the Australian market was taking good steps to address ad fraud, he speculated that it could be a target of international operators into the future.

“Firstly, you've seen in the US that they've worked really hard to stamp out ad fraud so as Australia gets bigger, it may become a bit more of a target for bot aggregators,” Diamond said.

“You also have to say that Australia isn't a mature marketplace in terms of trading programmatically.

“As that rolls out into the future, the marketplace will get bigger and the pool of inventory will get bigger - meaning there will be more opportunity for ad fraud to slip through the cracks.”

Meanwhile, brand risk was found to be 17.7% in Australia, something Diamond puts down to slow movement in the Australian market.

“What we've seen in the US is that brands have been very quick to switch to brand-safe sites. That hasn't quite happened in Australia yet,” Diamond said.

“What I think we'll start to see is brands put pressure on publishers to make more brand-friendly inventory and content available.”

Elsewhere, the report found that mobile in-app impressions were only found to be at 81% viewable, generally below the industry assumption.

“The interesting thing there is that say you're playing an in-app game with 10 levels and you see an ad between each level,” Diamond said. “and you only get through two levels.”

“What's happening there is that all 10 ads are being downloaded off the server, but only two are being seen.

“I think there's a lot more thinking to come from that.”

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