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Here’s how brands can combat ad fraud

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has issued its first guidelines to help marketers reduce their exposure to ad fraud.

Called WFA’s Compendium of Ad Fraud Knowledge for Media Investors, the document was compiled in conjunction with the Advertising Fraud Council and and was designed to educate marketers on the measures to reduce the susceptibility of ad fraud on advertising budgets.

It warns that losers from ad frauds are only advertisers and internet users with the proliferation of malware infections and was created in response to demand from the WFA’s Global Transparency Group.

Here are some of the actions identified in the document, bringing focus to four key areas:

  1. People and technology: Brands need to develop in-house expertise to support vendor selection, work with cyber security partners to help understand common threats and demand full transparency of investment, including full disclosure of the websites being used to promote their products or services.
  2. Education and communication: Brands need to set clear expectations of what they demand from their partners. They should set appropriate metrics that, where possible, relate back to business outcomes. They should also encourage open information sharing related to preventing ad fraud.
  3. Standards: Brands should avoid run of exchange buys in favour of databases of safe sites. Advertisers that need to hit digital investment targets may have to accept that these will not be achievable without exposing themselves to high levels of fraud.
  4. Governance: Contracts with agencies and vendor partners need to be revised to ensure that there are clear penalties for misallocating spend to ad fraud related inventory, where preventing it could be reasonably achieved. Those elements of the ad tech chain that have benefited from fraudulent activity in the form of commissions and fees should be requested to return them to the advertiser.

The report also points out the danger of social spam-sites which provide no opportunity for advertising effectiveness, along with the possibility of ad fraud among premium publishers, atypical in the form of sourced traffic.

“Advertisers are the sole victim of ad fraud and the WFA wants to equip them with the tools to minimise their exposure. There is much that advertisers can do  to improve the situation in terms of setting new standards, contractual changes and increased transparency, but ultimately behaviour change is required across the industry,” Stephan Loerke (pictured), CEO, WFA, said.

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