While click farming and impression farming have been long-standing issues in the world of digital advertising, the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to worsen these problems. With the help of AI, these fraudulent activities are scaling rapidly, posing a significant challenge for agencies and brands already grappling with fraud in the industry.
Click farming involves individuals being paid to click on various online content, while impression farming focuses on generating paid impressions. Both types of farming rely on bots and bad inventory to carry out these fraudulent actions. Tyler Nall, Group VP of Platform Strategy at Publicis Health Media, explains that structural changes are necessary in programmatic advertising to address this issue effectively.
The rise of digital content and inventory has led to an increasing risk of fraud in programmatic advertising. Ad dollars are often wasted as bots receive ads instead of genuine consumers. Impression farming, particularly on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, has been a persistent problem that is exacerbated by AI advancement, according to experts like Humphrey Ho, Managing Partner for Americas at Hylink Group.
The concern over ad fraud has grown as programmatic advertising has automated the buying and selling process of online ads. Statista estimated that 20% of ad impressions served programmatically in the U.S. in 2019 were fraudulent. The projection for digital ad fraud between 2018 and 2023 is expected to reach a staggering $100 billion.
AI’s impact on the problem cannot be overlooked. Smart bots now have the ability to amplify audience fraud in programmatic by falsifying impressions and attracting ad dollars. They can also create fake traffic and accounts on ad exchanges, making it incredibly challenging to detect and combat these fraudulent activities. Marketers should consider reframing their evaluation of campaigns and inventory viewability, focusing on metrics like cost per engagement and valid traffic to address the issue effectively.
However, it’s not just AI that contributes to the problem. Ad platforms themselves have a role to play in solving it, although it may be challenging due to the revenue they generate. Other sectors such as financial and identity fraud services must also join the fight against bots. While the use of AI-generated insights is increasing, it also holds the potential for developing effective solutions to combat ad fraud.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Q: What is click farming and impression farming?
Click farming involves individuals being paid to click on various online content, while impression farming focuses on generating paid impressions.
Q: How does AI worsen click and impression farming?
AI amplifies audience fraud by allowing smart bots to falsify impressions, generate fake traffic, and create fake accounts on ad exchanges. This makes it difficult to detect and combat these fraudulent activities.
Q: What metrics should marketers focus on to combat click and impression farming?
Marketers should reevaluate their approach and consider metrics like cost per engagement and valid traffic when evaluating campaigns and inventory viewability.
Q: Besides AI, what other factors contribute to click and impression farming?
Ad platforms also play a role in addressing the issue, but their response may be cautious due to revenue concerns. Other sectors such as financial and identity fraud services need to collaborate in the fight against bots.
Q: How big of a problem is ad fraud?
Ad fraud is a significant problem in the industry, with 20% of ad impressions served programmatically in the U.S. estimated to be fraudulent in 2019. The projected digital ad fraud between 2018 and 2023 is expected to reach $100 billion.