The Marketing Corner: About Ad Blocking and Ad Fraud

September 17, 2016 Updated: September 17, 2016

Few topics burrow deeper into the minds of marketers these days than online ad blocking and ad fraud.

For advertisers, they’re costly and can negatively impact the bottom-line. They become even more frustrating given digital consumption continues to rise and these issues will persist and escalate if not managed properly.

As consumers endure to demand control of their experiences, they are also looking to control the messaging they see. Ad blocking is a service by which consumers can block a given ad on a web page. Hence, the advertiser now has the burden of ensuring their message is relevant and provides an authentic experience in the hope that the consumer will not want to block the message. The problem with ad blocking hasn’t spread to mobile devices to the same degree since the majority of consumers have yet to install ad blocking on their smartphones.

Based on data from eMarketer, ad fraud cost the advertising industry $7.2 billion. While this is a huge number, it is notable to state that ad fraud is decreasing each year. The purpose of advertising is to ensure that the desired audience sees the ad. If it is not viewed, it cannot provide any impact against the consumer to influence a purchase.

Ad fraud cost the advertising industry $7.2 billion.

Viewability rates for digital video ads worldwide are at 47 percent, according to data from Extreme Reach. While ad fraud best practices are still in development, there are many third party firms (like Integral Ad Science or Double Verify) offering services to filter through the robotic traffic that are diluting advertisers’ return-on-investment (ROI). Tracking mobile fraud is still fluid, at best. This is where fraud and the potential for fraud are most prevalent. To mitigate fraud, it becomes a non-human function that one must rely on big data to assist in its elimination. If you deploy a third party firm like Double Verify, they can ensure you pay only for impressions delivered to a “real” human. This enhances ROI and mitigates paying for fraudulent impressions.

Marketers cannot manage every executional detail of their digital campaign, especially when considering the heavy lifting that is needed to manage brand safety (ad fraud, viewability, etc.) and combat ad blocking. Third party firms are there to provide those services. Major advertising agencies are employing these services because resources cannot always be allocated internally to track and manage every client’s brand safety protocols!

As with all marketing decisions, continue to monitor best practices on brand safety. MRC is an organization that accredits viewability solutions. It can at least assure that baseline practices are being adhered to by companies like Double Verify, MOAT and Integral Ad Science. As for ad blocking, you may not be able to stop consumers from using them. However, you can endeavor to change their behavior by implementing different tactics that are relevant and more engaging to gain traction with a desired audience.

 Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant, freelance writer and author of “Elements of Buying” (a self-help advertising guide), available at Adele was listed as Black Enterprise’s 2016 Women of Power in Advertising & Marketing and 2013 Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing. Contact: