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Ad Fraud - What Is It and How to Spot It?

Ads are an unavoidable part of the internet. It's how many websites, platforms and programs make an income. If you have a business with an online presence, you've probably considered ads to draw new visitors to your site or promote a sale. However, fraudsters have also made their way online, and it's predicted that ad fraud will become the biggest market for organized cybercrime by 2025. It is expected to be valued at $50 billion.

Ad Fraud

We'll be covering the following topics regarding ad fraud in this article:

  • What is ad fraud?
  • Signs of ad fraud

What Is Ad Fraud?

Ad fraud can be defined as an attempt to deceive advertising platforms with fake users and interactions imitating real user behaviors for financial gain. In many cases, these perpetrators use bots to automate the process of imitating users and interacting with ads, but this is not always the case. It is critical for digital marketers or anyone using digital advertising to learn how to spot ad fraud because if it's left unchecked, it can cause damage to your online businesses. If you don't act when you start seeing the signs of ad fraud, it can negatively impact your content optimization, viewability and performance. If you want to start using ads to boost the visitors and leads of your business, you'll need to learn what ad fraud is and how you can spot it. We'll be looking at a few ways to spot ad fraud, such as using location-specific proxies, such as a Canada proxy, to make spotting local ad fraud easier.

Types Of Online Ad Fraud

There are different types of ad fraud. Let's take a look at them now.

Click Fraud

This is the most common type of ad fraud, and bots are used to implement the fraud. With this type of fraud, the perpetrator's target pay-per-click (PPC) ads and use bots to click on these ads and waste the advertiser's budget. Alternatively, the perpetrators can also use click fraud to boost the rankings of the webpage or social post artificially.

Click Injections/ Click Hijacking

Click injection is a fraudulent program that makes its way onto your device through a simple app. These apps usually work and provide a simple function such as a to-do list or flashlight. Once the app is installed, it monitors any future downloads made on the app store, and if it's an app with an active plan, the fraudulent program will hijack the click. By monitoring the app installs, these types of fraudulent programs can ensure that they are the last click on the app to get the credit for the click.

Fake App Installs

Ads are often shown in other apps, and many fraudsters would get large groups of people to install the apps and click on the ads. These large groups of people that click are known as click farming. Using a click farm to install and interact with these fake apps makes them look like legitimate apps and makes them look more popular.

Signs Of Ad Fraud

It can be quite difficult to spot ad fraud as they are often well hidden. You should be aware of a few signs, and when you start noticing them, you can suspect ad fraud.

Here are some of the signs of ad fraud to look out for:

  • No performance on your ads while other pages still show performance
  • Poor on-site analytics, specifically high bounce rates and short session duration
  • Those who click on your ads have a datacenter IP address
  • Abnormally high click-through-rates (CTR)
  • Suspicious site lists such as long-tail site placements

How Can A Residential Proxy Help Detect Ad Fraud

Verifying ads is essential to ensure that your ad budget is spent effectively and that users can view your ads safely. It's also critical to ensure that ad fraud doesn't target your ads. Using a localized residential proxy for the area you are targeting is one of the easiest ways to verify and detect ad fraud. If you are placing an ad in Canada, you can use a Canada proxy to make it appear that you're accessing the ad from within Canada. This allows you to ensure that your ad displays correctly and works the way it's supposed to, i.e. taking users to your online store, contact us page or another page you specified. You must use a residential Canada proxy in this case so that your behavior is hidden behind a real IP address found in Canada. Fraudsters can detect if it's an IP address from elsewhere in the world or if it's a data center proxy and will then hide their activities.

Final Thoughts

Ad fraud is a very secretive form of fraud that most people don't realize until the damage has been done. However, if you carefully monitor your analytics, and make sure to investigate any strange occurrences such as no performance or poor site analytics. It is also important to verify your ads with location-specific proxies to ensure they display and work correctly and that they haven't been compromised by ad fraud.

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