If there is an open secret in the display ad industry, it is that fraud is rampant. It is everywhere, it is non-stop in display networks.
Fraud is not that much of a secret, many articles document fraud. This one, for example, shares “The Ultimate List of Click Fraud & Ad Fraud Statistics 2020” with people in the industry. The article points out that seventy-five percent of clicks to 300×600 ad units are fraudulent. Seventy-five percent! That’s three out of every four clicks you’d get folks!
But fraud can be very easy to stop as well. If you look at your AdWords—err, Google Ads accounts, and look at the placements where the ads were displayed, you can visit any URL. Most of the time, you will review ninety-percent of them and think, “do humans go here?” More often than not, the answer will be in the negative.
There are a few solutions to this problem. Our preferred option is to use managed placements to determine which sites are ideal for your ads to be placed on—but more on that later.
Another solution is to engage in the arms race of adding in the latest fraudulent sites on which you appeared as negative placements each day. But that is a never-ending battle, an arms race you can’t win.
However, there is a third solution: work with a platform that specializes in anti-fraud protection on AdWords. They will take care of a large part of it. They use different methods, such as having a network of known negative IP addresses that their systems block in AdWords, on your behalf.
There is one downside of using these platforms: they can be costly and, thus, are often out of reach for small to midsize advertisers. Some of them have options of cheaper plans, starter plans, or only charge a percentage—so, all are worth diving into.
In future articles, we will dive more into each one, but let’s get started with a list to start a comparison.
PPC Protect is a click fraud prevention software for Google Ads. They offer features such as insights into PPC traffic quality, secure API access, and AI learning. The AI learning “detects fraud faster than any human ever can, guaranteed.”
Click Cease is a similar software that protects AdWords campaigns from bots and competitors. They offer high levels of click fraud filtering by tailoring their approach to your business. They also offer insights into click fraud reports.
AdScore works with advertisers, ad networks, and publishers to monitor the quality of the traffic that is visiting their pages. It offers information on the category that each visitor falls on: traffic, human, proxy, low quality, and bots.
Traffic Cop from MonetizeMore uses machine learning optimization to improve on identifying fraudulent behaviors. They use fingerprinting algorithms to block ad fraud. This reduces the probability of fraudulent behavior affecting your ad revenue.
Escalated.io offers “anti-fraud detection technology”, offering solutions both pre-bid and post-bid. This eliminates general invalid traffic and sophisticated invalid traffic, both in real-time.
Whiteops is a cybersecurity company that protects enterprises from sophisticated bots. They focus on bot mitigation and prevention. They have worked with major companies and maintain a “pro-human approach” and aim to verify humanity in online interactions.
Click Guardian also focuses on the detection and elimination of click fraud. They do this by tracking the digital fingerprints of visitors, allowing customers to create up to 5 custom clicking rules. And they block visitors from making use of tactics that make them appear as anonymous.
Traffic Guard has real-time fraud prevention that aims to increase reach. Traffic Guard commits to helping clients save time and focus more on driving growth, increasing ROAS, and protecting against fraud tactics.
Double Verify’s mission is to “build a better advertising industry.” They work with brands to create more effective online advertising tactics. They achieve this by maximizing inventory value and optimizing ad deliverability to increase yield.
Integral Ads is an innovative company that aims to build products and services. They have established a Threat Lab to ensure that ads are shown by real publishers to real people in the target audience, to maximize ROI.
Conclusion: display ads can be deeply powerful, but you have to go in ready to minimize the fraud from the first moment. Drink deeply, or not at all, as Alexander Pope reminds us.