Brands constantly strive to maximize their ad budgets and cut down on waste. If an audience doesn’t see an ad, it can’t do any good. Whether your end goal is high ROI, driving in-store sales, or simply brand awareness, your brand should ensure its ad dollars are properly allocated and yielding high quality results.
In addition to the safety measures platforms are taking to ensure ads are served alongside brand-safe content, platforms are also emphasizing the importance of ad quality. Advertising on leading digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn gives brands the opportunity to know how their campaigns are doing in real time. Brands can optimize campaigns as changes occur and gather tangible results and metrics to assess campaign performance after completion. Digital channels have been going the extra mile to verify ad quality by embracing third-party measurement.
Third-party measurement provides platforms with set standards on viewability, independent of the individual standards set by each platform. Institutions, such as the Media Ratings Council (MRC), are setting industry-wide standards to push consistent benchmarks across the entire industry, including digital. Meanwhile, companies such as ComScore, Moat, Integral Ad Science (IAS) and DoubleVerify are providing the leading digital platforms with third-party measurement tools to ensure brands that their media dollars are being spent properly. This gives brands and platforms independent verification for results and metrics about ad campaign performance. With the growth of ad fraud, digital platforms are making their case to brands and advertisers as to why they have the ability to maximize viewability and ad dollars against other channels, and they are taking steps to break down measurement walls to prove it.
The Dangers of Ad Fraud
Ad fraud is a serious concern for advertisers and platforms; the phenomenon decreases impression volume by up to 92%, can increase CPM prices by 800%, and causes advertisers to spend money on fake impressions. These impressions are typically caused by bots and fake websites and are hurting programmatic advertisers. Programmatic abides by the mentality of maximizing reach at all costs. But automating digital ad campaigns can often put ad quality at risk and cause brands to miss out on valuable relationships with their customers. Programmatic faces serious setbacks because of ad fraud. It can lead to poor user experiences, devalued ad inventory, and inefficient measurement metrics for ad performance. Bots and ad fraud waste valuable impressions, and while platforms are tackling these issues, brands must as well. Ad fraud is rampant across desktop and mobile, affects all ad formats from video views to display ads, and greatly devalue ad strategies such as retargeting. Bad mobile applications load impressions in the background, bots search keywords to generate cost-per-click (CPC) revenue, and fake websites load numerous ads on pages to generate revenue from fake impressions. Simply put, wasted impressions result in wasted budgets.
Brands must proceed with caution when allocating their ad dollars. They must ensure that their ads are yielding real impressions from real audiences — not being wasted on bots or fake impressions. Ad fraud researcher Dr. Augustine Fou writes, “What matters is the fraud impacting your campaign. Advertisers that are vigilant will suffer less loss to fraud. Ones that are not, suffer greatly.” Ad fraud is not a minor industry issue. It is not only profitable, but it is also extremely scalable. As a result, it requires a collective effort from advertisers, platforms, and publishers to overcome.
Programmatic advertising uses automation to reach as many people as possible for the least amount of money possible, making it a susceptible target for ad fraud. Until the digital advertising industry as a whole overcomes the setbacks it faces from fraudulent activity, programmatic will continue to suffer. The leading social channels have been investing in new tools and strategies to eliminate ad fraud, ranging from blacklisting publishers to manually removing fraudulent users from their platforms. People-based advertising on these platforms focuses on efficiently using ad budgets to reach the right people by harnessing the power of data, insights and continuous optimizations. This provides brands with the opportunity to gain valuable feedback and data on their audiences to use in future campaigns, as well as peace of mind that their ad dollars are reaching real people, not bots. It’s an uphill battle to reduce waste, but a battle with a clear and certain outcome: steering away from programmatic ads and utilizing direct, people-based advertising on social channels can help your brand reach maximum efficiency and deliver the results you want to see.
Onward and Upward
Your brand should establish a constant feedback loop to assess whether you are effectively and efficiently achieving advertising objectives. Once you gather insights, act immediately to optimize performance. This is one of the biggest benefits of advertising on people-based platforms: the ability to immediately know what works, what doesn’t work, and instantly make appropriate changes to put your best foot forward with consumers. As your audience continues to spend increasing amounts of time online, on mobile, and watching video, brands must position themselves for success. Digital platforms are determined to deliver on ad objectives and give brands the best opportunity and space to maximize ad quality with the utmost efficiency. The consistent levels of investment these companies are pouring into optimizing digitals ads should incentivize brands to rethink traditional, outdated strategies and embrace digital platforms as the home for investing their ad budgets.
To find out more about how to ensure ad quality and brand safety, download our Brand Safety Guide here.