Theft on Auto-Pilot: Bot Fraud in Digital Advertising or How to Waste Millions of Dollars Without Really Trying

Bots are digital robots programmed to do something online. Okay, there is a lot more to what bots are and what they do, but for now let’s just go with this quick definition.

Bots are doing a lot of bad things online. One of the most costly things they do online (costly for advertisers and marketers) is pretend to be human and to look at digital advertising. Several times we wrote in the Digital Marketing Report about such misdeeds and how bot fraud is one of the industry’ dirtiest and not-so-little secrets. Here is one such article, originally published in the March 2016 of the newsletter.

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In mid-January 2016, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and White Ops released a report on the extent to which bots have infested and are sucking the life out of digital advertising efforts in the United States. Clearly, the bots are winning.

“The level of criminal, non-human traffic literally robbing marketers’ brand-building investments is a travesty,” said Bob Liodice, ANA president and CEO. “The staggering financial losses and the lack of real, tangible progress at mitigating fraud highlights the importance of the industry’s Trustworthy Accountability Group in fighting this war. It also underscores the need for the entire marketing ecosystem to manage their media investments with far greater discipline and control against a backdrop of increasingly sophisticated fraudsters.”

Forty-nine ANA member companies participated in the 2015 Bot Baseline study. Those participants deployed White Ops detection tags on their digital advertising to measure bot fraud. Data was collected from nearly 10 billion online advertising impressions across 1,300 campaigns over 61 days (from August 1 through September 30, 2015).

Here are JPEGs of the pages of the article:

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