The subject of ad fraud is not up for debate. Marketers acknowledge that it exists. But do they know who and what causes it? Do they truly realize how bad things are now? And what about how advertisers and marketers are affected personally with their own campaigns? And knowing all that, who’s responsible for solving this daily heist estimated at $51 million daily?

These are all questions in search of answers. Which is why tribeOS, together with marketing research firm Fuse Insights, conducted an in-depth “Ad Fraud Awareness” marketing research study of over 270 marketers in the US and Canada.

tribeOS, the  blockchain-based, advertising marketplace that makes ad fraud its #1 priority, was eager to gain insights on the hotbed issue impacting ad fraud. Here’s as quick overview …

Who participated?

Marketing decision-makers. Half of respondents are C-Level, with 2/3 being senior management level or above. The majority are marketers work in non-marketing organisations. And most worked for smaller organizations which translated, naturally, into smaller marketing budgets.

What type of ads do they buy?

The majority buy social and search ads: 72% and 43% respectively. Looking deeper, 35% had also included display ads, 33% online video and 14% mobile in-app ads.

How knowledgeable were respondents about digital ads and ad fraud?

This is where key insights begin to emerge. Few see themselves as digital marketing experts, even though 8 out of 10 are partially responsible for digital marketing programs.

Only 1 in 3 say they’re experienced or expert, a quarter (27%) say they have only minimal knowledge (or none) about digital marketing. Even more alarming? Even fewer really know about ad fraud and how it affects marketers. A quarter of the marketers have never even heard of it.

What’s interesting is that while respondents are aware about ad fraud in the abstract, they struggled to pinpoint specific causes of it. In fact, only 1 in 10 of the marketers described ad fraud in specific industry-based terms. By the numbers, 2/3 (64%) of respondents said they’re not familiar with ad fraud – including half (49%) of those with 10+ years of digital marketing experience.

Another key takeaway: most responses talked about ad fraud as a consumer problem, and not something marketers can ultimately control!

Here are some other relevant results:

  • 77% of marketers said they’d heard of ad fraud. But when asked, only 15% of that group described it in familiar industry terms: fake data, being charged for ads that aren’t shown, and fake interactions.
  • 8 out of 10 people who know anything about digital marketing believe there’s ad fraud on social ads.
  • More relevantly, only 3% of this group think that there isn’t ad fraud in social channels.

On what platforms do respondents think ad fraud is most prevalent?

Respondents felt social platforms are more prone to ad fraud. For example, 42% acknowledged some ad fraud on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. A lower amount, 31% of those surveyed noted ad fraud via display ads and banners and 30% acknowledged ad fraud via search ads such as Google AdWords.

Some immediate and limited takeaways

While many marketers are somewhat aware of ad fraud, bot farms and domain spoofing, the majority struggle to define exactly what those are.

Part II: more revealing answers from this comprehensive ad fraud study

In the second article in this series, here are more critical insights revealed:

  • How relevant is ad fraud to these marketers?
  • What numbers are respondents most and least impressed by?
  • Is there a disconnect between ad fraud and marketers being personally affected by it?
  • What solutions do marketers feel best combat ad fraud?
  • Who’s more responsible for preventing and/or fixing ad fraud: marketers or the platforms in which the ads appear?

Note:the 36-page Ad Fraud Awareness research study is available to you here.   

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