Google Provides Defense Against Ad Fraud

Ad fraud has become a popular topic nowadays. Rumored to be costing the advertising industry millions or even billions of dollars a year, ad fraud has nearly everyone in agreement that something needs to be done.

Master of the universe and a leader in online advertising, Google has finally unleashed a weapon to help combat ad fraud. This new feature automatically filters the traffic coming from the top ad fraud botnets that are currently plaguing the industry. Marketers can access this new feature on Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager.

“Our move to consistently and confidently cut out the traffic from these botnets represents a significant milestone in the defense of our advertising ecosystem,” said Andres Ferrate, chief advocate, ad traffic quality at Google. “Identifying ad fraud malware and protecting ad platforms against botnets is a sophisticated effort that requires deep technical knowledge, diligence, and the ability to think several steps ahead. It’s a game of chess against an opponent that is constantly changing the rules.”

The three main botnets, Bedep, Beetal and Changthangi, have already infected hundreds of thousands of devices and are responsible for generating fake traffic or serving ads that no one actually sees. These botnets are designed to mimic human behavior such as clicking articles or scrolling. In addition, they also control malware-infected computers, which are run by fraudsters who generate a large amount of non-human ad traffic to shady publishers. This then generates a large about of ad dollars for the fraudsters and publishers. A report by Distil Network claims that these fraudsters see $1 for every $3 spent, and according to a recent ad spend report, that would accumulate to over $18 billion annually.

Google states that they are now able to stop these botnets and the new feature is “resilient to possible changes” made to the malware that generates botnet traffic, which is often an issue when filtering out spam. Does this actually work? Only time will tell but for now, Google has again saved the day.

The Future is Native Advertising

Once upon a time, advertising was simple. Buying a half-page newspaper ad or a 30-second TV spot would allow an advertiser to reach thousands, if not millions, of people, and consumers weren’t overwhelmed or oversaturated with advertising. Over the years, more television channels arose and that quickly turned into more media channels, making it even more difficult to make an impactful impression on a consumer. The average consumer is inundated with over 5,000 brand exposures every day, 362 of which are advertisements, and sadly, a mere 12 actually make an impression. Because of this lack of effectiveness, a new advertisement concept has emerged: Native Ads.

Native advertising is paid content that is created to fit the same format as a publisher’s organic content. There are two factors that play a role in the recent success of native advertising. First, the Internet is now a way of life. The average adult spends more than six hours a day online consuming content, so the audience is already there. And second, having it look similar to a publisher’s organic content makes it less intrusive than other type of advertising. These native ads appear as sponsored or paid posts in the same stream as regular content. Some examples would be newsfeed Facebook ads or promoted Tweets. They appear mixed in with all the other content your friends and followers are posting.

Here is an example of a recent native video ad that appeared on BuzzFeed, which is one of the top online content publishers. This native ad for Tidy Cats appeared mixed in with other non-sponsored content and has been viewed over 9.7 million times.

See how it was entertaining and informative with a subtle hint of branding?

Native advertising has already taken off and is expected to quadruple by 2018, bringing in roughly $21 billion. According to Inc., 70% of consumers would rather learn about products through content rather than traditional advertising. Also, people view native ads 53% more than banner ads, and people who click on native ads have 52% higher purchase intent. In addition, these ad placements also have a 54% lower cost-per-click, 49 times higher click-through rate and can generate up to 82% increase in brand lift

Sixty-two percent of publishers currently offer native advertising placements with new ones being added almost daily. Forty-one percent of brands and 34 percent of agencies are already taking advantage of the benefits of native advertising. Will you be next?

Display Ad Spend Increasing in 2016

Search advertising seems to be the “ol’ faithful” of digital advertising. It is usually the first type of online advertising a company tries, and they usually keep it as they explore additional online marketing avenues.

For the first time ever, advertisers in the U.S. will spend more money on display ads—specifically traditional banners, video, and native ads—than they will on search ads. According to eMarketer, display ads are projected to grow by 23% this year. Don’t get us wrong; money is still going to search ads, in fact, they are projected to grow by 10%. However, this increase in display is evidence to the fact that brand advertisers who love TV are shifting their budgets to online. Display ads are more accommodating to TV-style brand awareness campaigns versus search ads, which are most commonly used more for direct response efforts.

Though pre-roll ads seem to be the logical shift from TV to online, traditional banners and native ads will continue to grow over the next few years. Advertisers are expected to spend the remaining digital budgets on rich media ads and various sponsorships.

Why You Shouldn’t Focus On Click-Through Rates

picture of analytics

Display ads are nothing new. Having been around now for over 20 years, it has become a common way to advertise online. And when we say common, we mean really common. Did you know that on average you see 362 display ads daily? That’s approximately 22 ads per every hour you’re awake. With such a flood of information you can’t expect users to click on every ad they see; they would never get anything done. But just because a user didn’t click on an ad, doesn’t mean it wasn’t noticed and remembered.

In 1994, the first banner ad received a click-through rate (CTR) of 44 percent. Over the years, it has slowly declined and is now around 0.1 percent for standard display ads, not including video or rich media ads. But, that doesn’t mean display ads no longer work. As online advertising performance changed, so did the methods, strategies, and reporting. The click-through rate is no longer the key performance indicator (KPI) of a display ad.

Many businesses no longer focus directly on the CTR because they are more focused on quality over quantity and reaching the right person, with the right message, at the right time. The goal has now become to drive action that leads to a purchase, regardless if that translates to a click or not. Ads are driving more actions than just clicks, including website visits and product research, and they must all be taken into consideration when looking at a campaign’s performance.

According to SEOmoz, 53 percent of people surveyed said they were likely to search online for a product featured in an ad they saw, which is the same percentage of who said they would click on the ad. This proves that searching for more information is just as likely as clicking on an ad, it just doesn’t happen as fast. Seventy-four percent would click on an ad immediately or within an hour, while 52 percent would search online immediately or within an hour.

Several aspects influence the action a user will take on display ads, including how close they are to a purchase decision, messaging, age, gender, and income. Utilizing consumer data is extremely useful to reach a consumer with the right message at the right time, in turn increasing your possibility for a conversion.

Savannah web development agency Robmark Web specializes in various forms of online advertising, including display ads, search advertising, pre-roll, and more. If you are interested in reaching new potential customers through online advertising, please call (912) 921-1040.