Rising Menace of ad fraud in MENA region, by mFilterIt’s Debsena Chakraborty

We are all aware that the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of businesses and increased digital consumer consumption. With the global digital advertising and marketing ecosystem set to become a $780 billion economy, businesses are increasingly leveraging digital advertising as a tool to reach their potential target audience, however, they are often neglecting or unaware about a bigger threat looming on their marketing budgets – ad fraud.

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Ad fraud is why the ROAS refuses to improve, the acquisition costs are on the rise, and this ends up costing the marketers several thousand dollars on a daily basis. The cumulative damage done by ad fraud is even more if the overall value chain is taken into consideration. The unfortunate truth is that many aspects of digital marketing have been pervaded with fraud. The ad-fraud economy is now named one of the biggest markets for organised crime worth a staggering $50 billion. In 2020, digital media accounted for 70% of spending on MENA ad space whereas online ad fraud has risen by 46% in the MENA region since the beginning of the pandemic. This clearly highlights a potent challenge that brands have been reeling under. Brands have large budgets allocated towards digital spend and it becomes imperative for the marketers to ensure that every dollar spent yields returns by maximizing ‘real’ engagement. Fraudulent activities such as click spamming, domain spoofing, fake installs amongst others can manipulate a campaign, which directly impacts the advertiser’s ability to generate ROI.

Fraudsters have an army of bots at their disposal to infiltrate campaigns and eat away the budgets which otherwise be used to target human users. As the digital world battles this complex phenomenon of ad fraud, there have been constant advancements in technological tools which build solutions to deter these fraudsters from masquerading behind the digital screens.

The recent announcement that the Advertising Business Group (ABG) and Interactive Advertising Buerau (IAB GCC) have partnered to launch Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) international standards in the GCC is welcome news to all marketers.  TAG is having a significant impact on reducing ad fraud across the world – the USA, key markets in Europe and many markets in the Asia-Pacific region. This could save companies millions of dollars in advertising spend. Despite knowing that ad fraud is very real, for many in the industry, implementing strategies to combat the issue is an abstract concept. It is imperative that brands take responsibility for their own online safety – safeguard their precious digital spends from fraudsters who are waiting to pocket ad spends and deploy solutions to tackle this ever-evolving issue. A close examination of fraud on real-time will help marketeers and advertisers optimize conversions, reduce cost, and drive real human engagement.

mFilterIt takes pride in being a TAG verified member where our technologies are backed by machine learning technology and advanced algorithms which provide real-time updates that weed out such attacks from the advertising campaigns and ensure that every dollar spent is every dollar earned. Ad fraud is a menace, and the ecosystem needs to come together to fight this battle as one single entity and simultaneous anticipate where it may arise next.