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Click Fraud Threatens Digital Advertisers
December 18, 2019

For those of us who work with IT security, it is evident that “click fraud” is a significant threat to anyone who advertises digitally. Still, unfortunately, there is not as much awareness among media companies and their customers.

The media companies do not inform their customers, and the advertising networks do not make the necessary changes to rectify the problem. It is probably more convenient to play ignorant than to report that many clicks or impressions are fake and will not yield any return on investment. An increasing part of the world’s web traffic is not natural. Larger feeds have shown that up to 61 percent of all traffic is invalid. Some sites we monitor can have up to 50 percent invalid traffic.

Bot-generated traffic can be a product of bot-network computers, hijacked by Trojans, or by specific actors who build programs themselves to visit websites and click on links. Solutions, specifically designed for “click fraud,” usually have a particular purpose; to dilute an advertising network, boost affiliate income, or impair another player’s ability to choose.

“Click fraud” means that advertisers have to pay for more impressions and more clicks, but without getting any value back. Few companies know what impact “click fraud” can have, and it is difficult to detect if you have been a victim without proper tools. Besides, the advertising is often handled by another part, making it even more difficult for the advertiser to detect anomalies on their own.

There has been a belief that the largest advertising networks are actively working against “click fraud” and effectively stopping the attacks. That is not the case. Facebook, one of the more extensive advertising networks, has been repeatedly criticized for not doing what is necessary to limit bot traffic. They have also received repeated criticism for the large number of scam accounts that appear.

There is today a large industry in the selling of likes and solutions for ad clicking. For example, you can buy 2,000 Facebook likes for as little as $5.

More and more companies will be affected as players see that it is possible to generate big money from the attacks. The advertising networks and media companies that offer digital advertising must take the threat seriously and not put their heads in the sand. For precisely this reason, we at Advedro have taken the step to build a fully AI-driven fraud shield to guarantee that the clicks we are delivering are real. As an advertiser, you can protect yourself by choosing to work with the right media channels and transparent advertising networks that genuinely understand the harmful impact click fraud has on your advertising campaigns.