ad fraud

Advertisement is an essential part of a business success formula. Throughout millennia, humanity has not experienced many changes in marketing strategies. Information about attractive goods available for trade used to travel via the original form of advertisement — Word of Mouth marketing in ad fraud.

At least up until the 20th century, the waters of advertisement remain very still. Of course, such revolutionary inventions as the steam engine create new forms of movement transportation, and with it the speed of traveling information accelerates. However, the world of advertisement has undergone significant transformations at major technological checkpoints: the expansion of telecommunications through TV, Radio, and eventually – the internet and succeeding information technologies. Fast forward to today, the abstraction of interconnected information systems is an entirely digital world, full of information, entertainment, and real estate for advertisement.

Because the internet is so incredibly powerful at bringing people together, companies and business-minded persons utilize the interconnectivity for efficient outreach. Personalization and diversity of places for advertisements offer a lot of micromanagement, but well-tailored ads reach far more clients than an advertisement on TV and Radio.

What digital marketing offers in efficiency and diversity requires the utilization of many strategies to maximize exposure. However, basic digital ads published on frequently visited websites are the backbone of online advertisement. A display of goods or a brand’s logo with a simple description can generate a lot of clicks, especially if the publisher’s traffic is huge, or the visitors are likely to be interested in your products and services.

Digital ads are manipulated in many ways — some of them keep appearing on big websites and social media networks due to third-party cookies tracking the behavior of users. Versatility and opportunities for outreach make digital marketing an enormous, multi-billion-dollar industry.

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With a technological spin on the advertisement, we discover superior tactics to find clients. However, every conceptual breakthrough has a shadow behind it. In this article, we will focus on the dark underbelly of digital marketing — ad fraud. Hackers and cybercriminals always find creative ways to bleed digitised business ventures, and this time, the result is significant. According to the results of a global 2019 study by Juniper Research, ad fraud costs the marketing industry an estimated $51 million per day. What makes things worse, the damages are on the trajectory to reach $100 million by 2023. Our goal is to inform the readers on ad fraud techniques and methods used by verifiers to dismantle fraudulent ads. For example, proxy servers are an essential tool for ad verification. You can use a Chrome proxy extension to change addresses while investigating web pages and published ads without ever exposing your network identity. Constant changes help verifiers avoid blacklisting and ensure that fraudsters never discover and ban your IP. Swapping addresses becomes even easier with a handy Chrome proxy extension that gives you control over your browsing experience. Click here to learn more about the service and its diverse applicability. Understanding the functionality of proxy servers will help you combat ad fraud.

Cybercriminals steal revenue from legitimate advertisers

The structure of modern websites makes it easy to incorporate advertisements without disrupting the browsing experience. A well-optimized page offers everything necessary to visitors. We also have social media platforms that offer great strategic placement of ads and supply marketing chains with millions of users that engage with the network for many hours a day.

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Still, up-and-coming businesses cannot afford to put all eggs in one basket, especially when the most popular baskets are expensive. To utilize available resources and get the value from a marketing campaign companies have to choose less popular publishers. These are the cases where scammers manage to find gaps to infiltrate websites and inject them with fraudulent ads.

While replacing real advertisements with fraudulent duplicates, cybercriminals also use automated bots to send illegitimate traffic. Because too many advertisers measure success by the number of clicks, scammers also fake the incoming clicks to sneak away from the revenue. These strategies not only result in theft of profits but also corrupt analytical data needed to determine real visitors’ engagement with a website.

It would be hard to find an individual that never encountered an unexpected pop-up ad. Most advertisements that behave annoyingly or open unexpectedly are planted by scammers. By altering the size of an ad or placing it on the top of legitimate advertisements, fraudsters trick real users into clicking on them when most web surfers are not even aware of their existence. Such trickery can go unnoticed for months. It is important to analyze the performance of legitimate ads and take action when poor functionality seems unreasonable.

Verifying ads with proxy servers

As we already mentioned before, proxy servers are incredibly versatile tools that protect privacy and anonymity online by altering the IP address of an internet user. They are used to bypass geo-blocked websites, visit pages where the main IP is banned, and protect the operation of automated bots.

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Just like fraudsters use proxy servers to bombard ads with fake traffic, verifiers avoid network identity exposure while customizing the page structure to uncover fraudulent ads. Uncovering these parasites will help you understand the shortcomings of a digital marketing campaign. By dealing with trustworthy publishers and regularly verifying the integrity of your advertisements, you will ensure that the message reaches real clients, and reliable information about their performance and interactions will help you make better marketing decisions in the future.

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