Your one-stop for the most important articles in digital marketing this week. In this post, our team dives deep to get you the latest digital marketing news in one place. Enjoy! 

A 7-Figure Ad Fraud Scheme Running on Roku Underlines Murkiness of CTV

Roku has yet again found itself at the center of an ad fraud scheme that likely cost premium brands and political advertisers upwards of seven figures, according to new research from Pixalate. Marketers were led to believe their ads appeared against brand-safe content on the streaming service, such as The Three Stooges, when in reality they were buying ads in screensaver apps or apps for lonely pets when their owners aren’t home. 

This is the second time in three months that Pixalate has discovered an apparent ad fraud scheme running on Roku.  Pixalate also found that spoofed inventory was passed through several ad-tech companies, including Rubicon Project, FreeWheel, The Trade Desk, SpotX and Amobee.

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Facebook, Google Could Lose Over $44 Billion in Ad Revenue in 2020 Because of Coronavirus

Ad spending is falling off a cliff amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and Facebook and Google, the two heavyweights in digital advertising, are expected to bear the brunt of the downturn in terms of sheer dollars lost. 

While both Facebook and Google are expected to see double-digit declines in profitability, they’re projected to continue to rake in billions on the bottom line: For full-year 2020, Google will generate $54.3 billion in operating income (43% adjusted EBITDA margin) and Facebook will pull in $33.7 billion (49% margin), per Cowen’s forecast.

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The Publisher’s Paradox: Clicks Are Up, but Not Ad Revenue

Over the last two weeks, all kinds of sites (from news sites to platforms) have seen traffic numbers jump. It makes sense, as people are looking for information around the coronavirus, as well as spending more time online because we’re working from home. But the challenge is that news organizations cannot monetize this bump. 

Advertisers not wanting their brand alongside news of sickness and death and the various other unpleasantries of our current reality are pulling spend, if not blocking terms like “coronavirus” and “pandemic” across programmatic channels. This means publishers can’t make money off the massive number of eyeballs coming to their sites.

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Scammers tried using kids apps in the Google Play store to generate cash

Fifty-six apps in Google’s Play store included malicious software that leveraged victims’ devices to click on mobile advertisements, artificially inflating the traffic to those ads and helping scammers make money.

Unlike so many other ad fraud efforts, this campaign was tailored toward children, with 24 of the 56 apps marketed towards kids. Entertainment apps and games with titles like “Cooking Delicious” and “Let Me Go,” a puzzle app, tempted kids into downloading, and then launched the malicious tool.

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The Ongoing Search For Brand Safety

Marketers have always prized safe harbors, environments where their ads are surrounded by content that is credible, valued, and paid attention to. The process of gauging the suitability of editorial content is not at all straightforward. While the perception may be that brand safety is easier found in a walled garden such as Facebook, the reality may be more difficult to determine.

Joey Leichman, VP of Buyer Development at ad exchange OpenX which represents 1,200+ publishers and 50K+ apps gives his take on where we are with brand safety.

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So there you have it friends, the best articles for this week. Make sure to check back every week for a quick absorption of the most relevant articles in the industry and stay on top of your game.