Ad Fraud and Viewability

When you pay for display advertising, you want consumers to actually see your ads. Hence why viewability has become a top concern among digital marketers, and for good reason.

Why Should You Care About Viewability?

Viewability refers to the process of monitoring activity on pages where ads run.

According to Google, the Media Rating Council considers an ad "viewed" when at least 50 percent of its pixels are visible on screen

For instance, advertisers often pay per impression, but ads can run anywhere on the screen. If an ad loads below a long chunk of content, and the user never scrolls down far enough to see it, the advertiser derives no benefit from the display ad.

But that's not the end of the story.

Invalid traffic can easily deplete your marketing budget, especially if you aren't aware of it. Viewability companies can detect invalid traffic, such as when a bot visits a page instead of a human being. You shouldn't pay for impressions that never get seen by a human eye.

Ad fraud can occur in numerous ways, from people clicking on advertisements over and over again to bots accessing thousands of pages per second. Viewability is the key to recognizing these fraudulent activities and ensuring that you don't pay for them.

Smart agencies like Elite SEM have made viewability a top priority for advertisers. We pay attention to viewability issues with particular vendors; if we see disturbing patterns in poor viewability, we know that there's the potential for ad fraud and other issues.

Does Viewability Actually Help?

While viewability might seem like a serious threat, there's a positive side to this coin. Ad Age reveals that ad fraud decreased by more than 21 percent in April 2016. Reporter Jack Neff attributes this decline to the increase in viewability. As more advertisers become aware of this practice and work with viewability partners, fraudulent activity becomes less frequent.

Viewability is on the rise, as well, increasing by 20.7 percent in the programmatic display ad space. When more consumers actually see your ads, you gain brand recognition and visibility. This is part of the reason why retargeting campaigns have become so effective.

The bottom line, however, is that you must make your team aware of ad fraud and its potential consequences. If you take steps to improve viewability, you not only reduce your chances of becoming a victim of ad fraud, but you also expose your brand to more consumers.

If you want to learn more on the growing concern over brand safety and recommended solutions for various brand goals read our blog post “Scale vs. Brand Safety, Is There a Programmatic Winner?”

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