Fake news, digital ad fraud and data privacy are pressing issues threatening the trust and confidence in an ad-supported internet. While advertisers continue to demand transparency of their partners downstream — even going so far as to hold budgets hostage — consumers, who have enjoyed positive, emotional connections with their brands online, are at risk of turning off due to privacy concerns. Stakeholders will expect even greater clarity and accountability in the quality of the online platforms and content that they invest behind.
Fake News & False Content Outperform the Truth
The glut of fake and unsubstantiated content will likely continue. Social media platforms have become effective targets for pushing unsupported headlines that users are quick to circulate. Fake news and false stories reach more people and spread 6x faster than genuine content. Technology-driven solutions are essential for advertisers to validate the integrity of digital content at scale.
Fraud Follows the Money
Third-party verification has successfully reduced desktop digital ad fraud to low single digits. Now, with mobile apps commanding more than 50% of a consumer’s time online, advertiser demand for quality mobile inventory has swelled. In return, we’ve seen an 800% increase of in-app ad fraud. Expect that in-app ad fraud will continue to accelerate as fraud follows the money. Also, expect emerging premium, high-growth media types such as connected TV (CTV) to draw the attention of fraudsters — in line with sharp increases in budget allocation.
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Blockchain Will Not Solve Ad Fraud
Blockchain was a major buzzword in 2018 with headlines proclaiming the solution to be the end of ad fraud. But blockchain isn’t really a technology to identify fraud. Rather, it’s a multi-party conduit for transferring information that today is limited due to latency. The early application of blockchain within ad tech has been to offer margin or fee transparency among intermediaries within the value chain – which can be used for billing and reconciliation purposes. As time goes on, the industry will start to better understand the use case of the technology, helping to convey verification data while increasing industry player transparency through blockchain’s ledger.
Metrics that Matter
New standards for marketing performance are emerging as current industry norms are insufficient. Digital metrics are evolving and will continue to do so in 2019 — from measuring the quality of an ad placement to also evaluating the quality of consumer engagement. Engagement metrics encompass richer insights into how consumers interact with online promotion and are important predictors of these users’ likelihood to transact.