Marketing and advertising have been complementing each other for ages. While advertising plays a vital role in achieving marketing targets, accurate advertising targeting and the right kind of target audience, makes it happen. From the time the internet came into existence during last couple of decades, the whole dynamics of marketing and advertising has changed significantly. Marketers’ reliance on advertising has increased exponentially. Buying ad placements in the physical and virtual worlds has become an everyday event. Marketers buy ad placements with the sole purpose of reaching their specific target audience. But many times, it happens, that those ads reach the wrong audience or worse, have been hacked for malicious reasons. As a result, advertising budgets are wasted on fraudsters despite all efforts to avoid that result. According to several recent studies, there is an alarming increase in digital advertising-related cybercrimes. It has become a major point of concern for professionals worldwide.

The Pay Per Click (PPC) model has become most popular reward system that ad networks offer on the global front. There is a big catch in this. Many of these clicks go to waste costing organizations a hefty portion of their advertising budgets. This loss has gone up to as high as 40%, in many cases. This is a serious threat to companies that cannot be ignored. So far there has not been one, effective, consolidated solution to mitigate this risk. There is a continuous war on ad fraud happening across the globe. This concept of ad fraud is not new.  It has been around for the last three decades. Nowadays this war has reached a multi-scale level branching out in the advertising supply chain. It has expanded from a linear chain to a level that includes a large number of intermediaries.

This, in fact, has given ample scope to fraudsters to achieve new heights in ad fraud. To understand this magnitude of fraudsters, it is essential to understand how click-fraud works. Click fraud refers to phony or disguised clicks that should be driven by a genuine interest in the targeted ad link. In line with that, false clicks on ads are arranged. This becomes a goldmine for shady publishers, taking advantage of Pay-Per-Click agreements. They start charging for clicks with rock bottom prices, as well as for conversion rates, thus spoiling the market of genuine publishers. This severely affects advertising costs and revenue potential. A recent Bot Baseline report released by White Ops revealed that out of all fraud attempts, 20-35% amount to all ad impressions throughout the year.

Despite it’s low-risk category, Ad Fraud is an increasingly sophisticated, high-profit crime with recurring revenue. According to the World Federation of Advertisers, ad fraud is bound to become the second most alluring form of organized crime (next to drug trafficking) within the next 8-10 years. Losses on ad fraud in 2019 is estimated to be as high as $42 billion.

Luminati Networks has looked into Fighting Ad Fraud and has discovered repeated patterns. While other reasons for this traffic peak include accidental clicks, the traditional detections were not equipped to build tracking capabilities matching the speed of fraudsters. Rather, fraudsters, to date, have enhanced capabilities to control the system.

Tracking your digital advertising journey as a genuine advertiser is your fundamental right. An advertiser hopes to ensure that whatever site, country or city it targets its advertisement to move to, it reaches its destination. That is why it is very important for an advertiser to get into its consumer’s shoes and become capable of testing his or her ad viewing as a regular consumer irrespective of wherever they are located geographically. Looking at the growing expertise and skills of hackers in today’s digital world, this is the only method an advertiser has to ensure that their allocated budget is correctly spent on their brand and that their brand reputation is not hampered by hackers in any manner. The best option available is by using open source data collection technology.

IP Proxy Networks when applied by businesses, lets them gain the experience of their real consumers. With the help of these networks, a business or advertiser can track their digital advertising campaign following every bit of its journey including customer behavior, testing links, placements, and a lot more.

Now, it becomes apparently important to understand what an IP Proxy Network is. Organizations are facing an uphill task of viewing or browsing the internet openly without getting blocked or served irrelevant content. When an organization deploys IP Proxy Network, it leverages real IPs from real consumers who have willingly opted-in through an exclusively clear landing page. These consumers do so in order to gain access to an ad-free application, enhancing their user experience. They have an option to opt-out at any given time.

In fact, these millions of real consumer IP addresses (where each IP address is a unique set of numbers) are utilized as a gateway for businesses to browse the internet without getting blocked. This is the only way a business is able to view the internet as an individual or consumer would view. Most importantly, the business is able to do it openly, transparently, and freely. For instance, it might be Jack in Ohio, USA or Catherine in Nice, France; businesses will be able to navigate their individual web-journey and browse the internet the same way as a consumer would do. Above all, it is independent of a device, browser, network, or ISP (internet service provider).

Now, the question comes – How can a business use an IP Proxy Network to fight against ad fraud? Ad fraud is an expert’s job who has a criminal bent of mind.

How can an IP Proxy Network assist in fighting Ad Fraud?

A fraudster comes to know quite easily when he is getting noticed or being watched. He can easily cover his tracks, hide, or change entity. When you are using an IP Proxy Network, it is as simple as looking at ads as if you were a consumer thus alarming no one. In fact, this way, you will get directed by an ad in the same manner as a consumer would. The next question that arises is that of scale. When you are a business, it is not about one or two consumers. It is about millions of consumers, residing in thousands of cities in hundreds of countries. So, you might well ask – How does an IP Proxy Network tackle ad fraud at scale?

Basically, if you see, digital advertising technology is like a double-edged sword. On one hand, it permits for automated distribution while targeting of ads on a huge scale. On the other hand, it offers a tough challenge to the advertiser to control and check so many ads for veracity. As a matter of fact, these ads are entirely unique in terms of what they serve, where they serve, and when they serve to each of the person. The variables dictating all this, interestingly, are changing all the time. An IP Proxy Network is actually required to test various ads that are being catered to the user at that particular instance and which out of those are able to draw his or her attention.

For instance, let us take an example of a social media site. The social media company, with the help of IP Proxy Network, can instantly bifurcate the user session and simultaneously check all ads being served to that user at that particular moment.

Technically, ad fraudsters have gone quite advanced in terms of developing various methods to find out an advertisement’s ‘soft spot’ and explore its revenue chain, in a very organized manner. Companies are pumping in huge amount in digital advertisements.

IP Proxy Network, as I mentioned earlier, can help businesses leverage real consumers IP addresses who have opted-in to the network in return for ad-free applications. By using the same network, a business can ensure its ad journey getting protected along with no broken links or hackers involved and thus the brand image remains intact. After all, it is not only the question of money but also of market reputation.

This article was based on a recent research conducted by Luminati Networks, the world’s largest proxy operator dedicated to enabling businesses open source data collection. Luminati provides global businesses, companies and brands with a transparent view of the internet, no matter where they are based in the world, they can view the internet as a typical consumer would do.

(Image Courtesy: www.whatsnewinpublishing.com)

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