By The&Partnership, Special for USDR
Almost a quarter of the money US brands spent on digital video and display advertising in 2016 may have been wasted on fraudulent placements, according to a new study from The&Partnership and Adloox.
The study, ‘Ad Fraud America: The Real Scale of the Problem and How to Fix It’, is part of a global report which has contributed to an exodus of advertisers from Google and YouTube over the past week – with brands including AT&T, Verizon, the UK government and the Guardian withdrawing spend from the platform amidst fears surrounding brand safety and fraudulent placements.
The&Partnership’s study reveals that the scale and cost of advertising fraud may until now have been significantly under-reported. Of the $32.17bn spent on digital video and display advertising in the
US alone in 2016, it estimated, a full $7.52bn (23%) may have been wasted on fraudulent advertising – approximately the same figure that the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) two years ago predicted would be lost globally to ad fraud in 2016.
In 2017, if US digital video and display spend grows to $37bn as forecast, the money US brands stand to lose could rise to $9bn.
According to The&Partnership, this vast proportion of wasted spend could be reduced to single figures using specialist, third-party ad verification software – a critical element in the protection of brands which, until now, “walled gardened” platforms such as Google and YouTube have refused to allow – instead offering advertisers their own proprietary brand safety tools.
Johnny Hornby, Founder of The&Partnership, said: “Having highlighted the problem, it’s important to also highlight the solution. The proper use of ad verification software can reduce the 23% of advertising spend that may be being wasted on fraudulent – often reputation-threatening – advertising placements in the US down to 1 or 2%, if not better.
“The issue, however, is that the big-platform players – and most critically YouTube, as part of the Google family – are still refusing to allow access of our ad-verification software to their platforms. Meanwhile, other platforms such as Facebook are also failing to allow us full access to their walled gardens – giving advertisers the visibility and transparency they deserve.
“Without this, not only are these platforms denying our clients the clean, brand-safe environments they quite rightly demand – but advertisers also lack full transparency and visibility in terms of the money they are losing to fraudulent advertising and advertising that never gets seen.
“If Google wants to see advertisers returning to YouTube in significant numbers,” said Hornby, “it is going to have to move quickly on the following two things:
“Firstly, Google needs to stop marking its own homework (as Keith Weed, Unilever Global CMO, recently observed) – fully opening up its walled gardens to independent, specialist ad verification software, to give brands the visibility and transparency they deserve.
“Secondly, Google will need to start looking at brand safety from completely the other end of the telescope. Instead of allowing huge volumes of content to become ad-enabled every minute, and then endeavouring to convince advertisers that the dangerous and offensive content among it will be found and weeded out, it should be presenting advertisers only with advertising opportunities that have already been pre-vetted and found to be 100% safe.
“Only then will we see the advertiser exodus from Google reversed – and brands begin to trust and invest in YouTube once again.”
The&Partnership and Adloox’s report was conducted across a robust 200bn daily bid requests, 4bn ad calls and 10bn ad impressions a month, for a period of 12 months.
The&Partnership is a modern communications agency uniquely built to solve the concerns and frustrations of marketers. The multidisciplinary model operates under a single-bottom line, which creates game-changing collaboration and creativity across disciplines, delivering the right answer for today’s client needs. The agency’s capabilities span 10 disciplines including advertising, media, PR, CRM, data/analytics, digital, social, mobile, innovation, content and delivery/production.
The&Partnership has 1,500 employees in 56 offices across 25 countries. For more information, visit the website at: http://www.theandpartnership.com. Follow The&Partnership on Twitter @powerofand_na and on Instagram theandpartnership_na.
Adloox is the only audit verification company. Created in 2009, Adloox offers the deepest brand safety, fraud and viewability data analysis in the digital market today. Adloox has developed its own auditing index, allowing both buy and sell-side partners to detect inefficient traffic at a much deeper (user-centric) level. Clients use Adloox to optimise their campaign efficiency on the fly, and detect the most granular domain/traffic-level inefficiencies in both pre and post-bid. Adloox is able to detect and remove all GIVT (general invalid traffic) and SIVT (sophisticated invalid traffic) categories of non-human traffic ad fraud, across all devices including mobile in-app. With offices in New York, London, and Paris, and clients across Europe, the US, Latin America, Africa and Apac, Adloox tracks and verifies billions of impressions for its clients, through its core foundations in innovative technology and premium service.