On RealTime Daily, a January 8th article* accused many top digital programmatic networks of delivering fraudulent traffic to its advertisers, many of which are top names in the programmatic space. These allegations center around the fact that these display and video ad networks drive up to 70% of traffic that appears in placements other than those intended. Some may argue that this isn’t fraud, but rather inaccuracy. Regardless, it differs from what was promised in the insertion order.

Digital advertising has always had its share of fraudulent placements, particularly in programmatic avenues. This is likely due to the fact that single site placements are much easier to police. Many digital programmatic placements are non-transparent, meaning advertisers and agencies are not able to determine exactly which sites drove the ad exposure. To be frank, many clients aren’t too concerned as long as the advertising is meeting its goals and objectives.

So, How To Approach Digital Media Buys?

As an agency, Geary LSF attempts to work with placements that pass a proprietary RFP process that helps to specifically match media partners to our clients’ needs and objectives. This process helps to match media to advertisers. Unfortunately, transparency isn’t always well-vetted via this methodology.

A stronger approach is to work through agencies or partners that are known for transparency and focus on those placements. For example, GDN, DoubleClick Bid Manager, and The Trading Desk all offer placements that are transparent to advertisers.

Finally, there are viewability metrics available through publishers (DFP) Demand Base, as well as standalone companies such as C3 Metrics, that report on viewable impressions and demographics of clickers that can be matched to desired demographics.

The digital industry has struggled with the issue of click fraud since its inception. Emerging technologies and innovations in the buying process have diminished the amount of click fraud in paid search and are in the process of doing so for traditional display. As we continue placing and innovating in technology, I have no doubt we can reduce the fraud that exists in programmatic display today.

* http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/266233/survey-more-than-80-of-publishers-use-programma.html