Digital Advertising’s Crisis

A ‘Crisis’ in Online Ads: One-Third of Traffic Is Bogus

Suzanne Vranica with Mike Shields writing in The Wall Street Journal:

“About 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites, according to estimates cited recently by the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade group.”

Bots, click fraud, fake traffic.

It’s widespread, says The WSJ.

With a catch: your company must be online.

There’s no choice, right?:

“Spending on digital advertising—which includes social media and mobile devices—is expected to rise nearly 17% to $50 billion in the U.S. this year. That would be about 28% of total U.S. ad spending. Just five years ago, digital accounted for 16%.”

So, ditching the digital marketplace is a hard sell.

After all, it’s growing by double digits.

But what do you tell your CEO when asked:

“Can you prove to me our ad dollars are not wasted due to fraud?”

Monitor and audit all you want.

Right now, however, assume some of your online ad budget is squandered.

Misspent monies.

Inform your CEO.

And demand recompense. Restitution.

Insist on proof that consumers signed up for services, products or deals advertised.

Without the evidence, here’s a current best practice:

“Few marketers say they plan to cut back on digital advertising. Instead advertisers are getting more aggressive in monitoring what they are getting and in demanding reimbursement if fraud is uncovered.”

I would also tie your media buyer’s compensation to “make goods.” Free ad space.

Digital advertising is becoming a bigger slice of the marketing pie.

But your firm’s bottom line is involved.

And is your CEO’s reputation.

Your best strategy is planning and reporting online advertising tactics and results with credibility.

Credibility demands honesty.

And, honestly, there is fraud online.

Digital domination may be in the cards.

Ignoring fake traffic need not be.


Twitter: @schwartznow

Digital Hubs:  Here or Here

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