Now more than ever, it’s difficult for companies that advertise their products and services online not to fall prey to ad fraud. The schemes of those who attack Display Ads and other kinds of digital ads are difficult to thwart, even with the best advertising experts on the job. Moreover, getting rid of fraudulent ads and keeping consumer data safe takes up a significant amount of money. So how do you navigate these issues without necessarily burning a hole in your pocket? Let’s find out.

Firstly, to understand how you can tackle ad fraud effectively, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with ad fraud and the types of ad fraud out there. Most of the time, ad fraud is committed with the help of bots. In the most basic sense, ad fraud occurs when scammers online purposefully interfere with the delivery of your ads for financial gain. Ideally, you want to create ads for your product, feature these ads on good websites, then wait to receive clicks that direct viewers to your site. This smooth process is interrupted along the way by fraudsters that charge advertisers and publishers for fake ads and false impressions.

There are several kinds of ad fraud currently in operation. You’d be surprised at how easy it is for scammers and fraudsters to attack companies that make use of programmatic advertising. Advanced scammers can interfere with traffic, data on conversion rates, click-through rates, and much more. In other words, all that matters the most in the world of Digital Marketing can be targeted by ad frauds. Besides, it’s not just scammers that interfere with your ad delivery, it’s often perpetrated by competitors as well. A good example of this would be click frauds that are ridiculously easy to pull off. So how do you avoid ad fraud?

Let’s start with click frauds. Click frauds can be kept at bay if you examine any data you receive on IP addresses, action timestamps, and more. You have to realize here that merely receiving good traffic and clicks doesn’t necessarily mean that your ads are being viewed by genuine customers. Also, remember that reach isn’t everything. If you focus only on increasing your reach, more often than not you end up compromising on the quality of your ads. The number of people viewing your ads doesn’t matter if the ads don’t contain the kind of content that can urge viewers to click on them.

The other kinds of ad fraud such as action fraud are more serious than simply interfering with statistics on clicks and conversions. Action fraud involves replicating common actions that users perform when they view ads online. This kind of ad fraud is neither easy to detect nor easy to remedy. Most kinds of ad frauds such as click frauds can be detected by examining anomalies. Other kinds of frauds can be detected by examining impressions. IP blocking is also turning out to be an effective solution to dealing with fraudsters. Another way in which advertisers can prevent fraudulent activity is by adding fields that cannot be viewed by bots.

Aside from ad fraud, a major concern for companies that advertise online and platforms that run these ads is protecting consumer privacy. Sure, Google has ways and means through which it displays ads to users based on their browsing history and online activities. However, this doesn’t breach users’ personal data and hence doesn’t prove to be a threat to privacy or safety. However, this isn’t to say that every ad publisher you work with will adhere to laws and regulations regarding user privacy.

Every company gets to decide what policies it wishes to follow regarding user privacy, within a country’s legal framework. Some brands give more importance to safeguarding users’ personal data than others do, earning the consumers’ trust and securing their reputation. Privacy and distributing personal data to third parties has been under the scanner for the past few years since a certain social media giant had to face the ramifications of being lax with protecting user information.

It can be difficult to comply with data and privacy laws in every country that you advertise in, especially if you’re just starting out. Well, the good news here is that you don’t have to handle it all on your own. Some various organizations and companies can help advertisers prevent and detect ad fraud and help you comply with data laws. There are also ad fraud detection systems that you can use to keep fraudulent activity in check and ensure that only genuine customers reach out to you.

Regarding privacy concerns, it’s better to be safe than sorry here. It’s always a good idea to conduct some background research on the publishers who will be floating your ads online. If you find the slightest indication of non-compliance with privacy laws from these publishers, turn around and head in the opposite direction. The last thing you want from online advertising is earning a bad reputation for your brand because XYZ publisher didn’t care about privacy concerns from users.

All in all, ad fraud in programmatic advertising is nothing new and is likely to stick around for as long as we have the internet. While there’s no way to detect and remedy all kinds of ad fraud, there are ways in which you can deal with the most common kinds without having to break the bank. The same goes for safeguarding user privacy however, privacy is arguably the bigger issue here. Protecting the privacy of your customers will not only help you establish a good reputation, but it’ll also help your business stay afloat so make sure you prioritize it accordingly.