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2019 ad fraud predictions

Dec 20, 2018 6:40:00 AM

The battle against ad fraud is ongoing, and despite the gains made in 2018 — our industry exposed several big ad fraud schemes across desktop, mobile in-app, and Connected TV/OTT devices this year — overall ad fraud rates continue to rise.

Pixalate CEO Jalal Nasir brings you six ad fraud predictions for 2019. Watch the video and see the full predictions below:


#1: Connected TV/OTT ad fraud attacks have only just begun

  • We’ve seen one example of how fraudsters can take advantage of the budding CTV/OTT space (Business Insider)

  • CTV/OTT ad fraud schemes will only grow in scale and complexity (Pixalate)

  • Tru Optik estimates a 62% uptick in OTT ad spend 

    • However, there’s also double-digit ad fraud rates (19% in OTT, per Pixalate) 

  • Measurement and standardization have not caught up with this space — even as ad spending skyrockets

    • Fraudsters will continue to follow the money

#2: Mobile in-app ad fraud schemes will continue to be unearthed

  • MegaCast was one of the biggest examples of an apparent mobile app ad fraud scheme (BuzzFeed)

  • Other app-based attacks have also been unearthed (BuzzFeed) 

  • App stores need to take more control over the apps that are allowed onto their 

    • Continuous monitoring of the apps will also be paramount 

  • App ads.txt will help, but the in-app space remains ripe for the picking 

#3: Increased consequences for those who commit ad fraud will lead the industry to be more transparent

  • The DOJ’s recent crackdown on an alleged ad fraud operation shows that, in some cases, there are consequences for ad fraud (AdExchanger)

    • This case set a precedent for holding fraudsters accountable 

  • We believe law enforcement will stay involved, but fraudsters will remain relatively uninhibited

    • Monetary rewards for ad fraud remain far too great, and law enforcement involvement is not yet the norm

  • Rooting out ad fraud requires transparency and industry-wide collaboration 

    • With so many big ad fraud schemes being exposed in 2018, the scale of the problem has been revealed 

  • The tides are turning on breach disclosure, and companies will no longer remain quiet

    • Historically, affected companies have been quiet whenever an ad fraud breach occurs, which ultimately allows the fraudsters to remain undetected for even longer 

#4: Big players will adopt mobile in-app ads.txt quickly

  • From a technical perspective (for publishers), it’s similar to ads.txt for desktop and mobile web.

  • We predict top-tier app publishers will quickly adopt ads.txt, but the ‘long tail’ will take longer than it did on desktop

  • The greatest risk to adoption lies with the app stores, as they will be required to play a part

#5: Brands will take more control of their ad fraud prevention tech as ‘in-housing’ evolves to its next phase

  • Brands have built or mastered in-house tech platforms, and as they execute their own advertising, they will mature to add their own ad fraud protection

  • The evolution of in-housing is now turning focus toward improving media quality and protecting investments

  • Brands want to take more control of the money they are losing to ad fraud

    • Cost efficiencies are the #1 benefit to U.S. companies going “in-house” (eMarketer) 

#6: Double-digit ad fraud rates will persist

  • Despite the positive impact of some industry-wide initiatives — like ads.txt — double-digit ad fraud rates persist and ad fraud continues to grow (Pixalate)

  • Overall invalid traffic (IVT) rates in the U.S. are 16.6% (Pixalate)

  • Global mobile in-app ad fraud rates are 17.1% (Pixalate)

  • Global OTT ad fraud rates are 19%, while U.S. OTT ad fraud rates were 18% (Pixalate)

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