Most apps live on Apple’s App Store — home to nearly two million apps and access to 100 million iPhone users. Once a brand joins these ranks, there’s one goal: Drive positive ratings that entice more users to download and try the app. High ratings are critical for app visibility, as a higher rating has a strong correlation to trial, and Apple ranks those with more positive ratings and reviews higher than apps with negative ones.
But this ratings system can be manipulated to create false app ratings and skew scores, and that’s a bigger problem for marketers than they may realize.
Some businesses treat the problem of ad fraud as a “tax,” considering it to be an unavoidable cost of digital advertising. Fraudsters siphon up to 30% of any given advertiser’s budget using a variety of tactics, such as app install farms or click spoofing.
While this wasted spend is certainly of consequence, accepting ad fraud as a tax of doing business assumes that your drained budget is the only side effect (an inherently flawed approach). Ad fraud, if left to run rampant, poses additional threats to your performance and business.
The IAB hasn’t mandated the adoption of app-ads.txt. In other words, it’s still the Wild West out there when it comes to fraud. But even the publishers that have done the right thing by adopting app-ads.txt have gotten the wrong message about the tool because it’s been presented entirely as a compliance matter. As a result, many mobile publishers treat app-ads.txt as a perfunctory anti-fraud measure that they can “set and forget.”
For more than a year now, we have seen trend data that indicates massive mobile in-app programmatic spend growth, with in-app video leading the way. Our own numbers confirm these trends.
This is a seeming slam dunk for app publishers, but many of them are dragging their feet to take advantage of the new revenue opportunity. Notably, they are not implementing quality measures like app-ads.txt or the IAB’s Open Measurement SDK that brands are looking for. Both of these standards benefit publishers as much as they benefit brands and indicate a commitment to quality in-app inventory. It’s important to get out in front and show proactive initiatives as buyers decide with whom to trade and how.
In light of last week’s enactment of the California Consumer Privacy Act and our monthly theme, Pursuing Privacy, Street Fight posed questions on surveillance capitalism, privacy, Big Tech, and the future of digital advertising to Brendan Eich, CEO of Brave, one of the leading companies championing privacy-first solutions in the tech industry.
“The entire industry is in need of a fundamental shift from tracking to privacy by default and by design,” Eich said. “To truly preserve consumer privacy, Big Tech needs to switch to a privacy-by-default approach. Nothing will change otherwise. Until then, consumers will remain confused about where their data is being used, and tracking and data monetization will remain pervasive on the web.”
It’s no secret that ad fraud is a major hurdle for digital advertisers, sapping billions annually from marketing budgets. As digital advertising continues to receive higher cuts of marketing budgets, the pressure on ad platforms to deliver legitimate and high-quality campaigns to their customers has never been greater. At the same time, marketers must be increasingly aware and choosy in how and where they run their digital campaigns in order to avoid the perils of ad fraud.
There are plenty of ad traps out there, but savvy marketers and publishers alike can implement a number of digital checkpoints to not only keep ad fraud at bay, but also optimize what is working and maximize profits for both parties.
In-store marketing platforms are designed to spit out all different types of metrics. Return-on-ad-spend (ROAS), customer acquisition costs (CAC), cost per visit (CPV), and customer lifetime value (CLV) are just a few of the metrics that marketers regularly track. But how reliable are these metrics, and what do they mean for big-picture business growth? The ad tech company S4M is aiming to answer that question. The company recently released a new feature as part of its FUSIO drive-to-store platform.
Advertisers and brands are expected to lose an estimated $50 billion as a result of ad fraud by 2025, with one of the most problematic types of ad fraud involving bots designed to mimic human behaviors. Using bots, fraudsters can imitate clicks and engagement KPIs on ad campaigns, wreaking havoc for mobile ad vendors and the advertisers that work with them. So what’s the solution? Firms like Unbotify are pioneering a new approach to bot detection and digital fraud prevention using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Unbotify’s solution analyzes human behavior patterns within websites’ and mobile apps’ user flows in order to differentiate between bots and humans.
According to new research from Pixalate, a cross-channel fraud intelligence company that works with brands and platforms to prevent ad fraud and improve ad inventory quality, about a quarter of all smartphone app video and smartphone app display activity is “invalid traffic” (the technical term for what is largely fraud).
Ever since a 2014 Google study documented that 52 percent of ad impressions actually were not seen by users, viewability has been a front-burner issue for marketers and publishers alike. The digital platforms of local newspapers serve up billions of ad impressions monthly, putting these publishers right in the middle of the issue. To find out how they’re responding, Street Fight spoke with Tobias Bennett, the Local Media Consortium’s advertising expert.