By Chris Harper
Photo-Mix / Pixabay
Google has been attempting to fend off fake traffic for years. Now the search giant is preparing to issue refunds to advertisers whose ads recently appeared on websites running fake traffic.
The Wall Street Journal reports the search giant is also preparing to roll out new tools which will give marketers “more transparency about the ads they buy through its platform.”
Hundreds of marketers and ad agency partners have already received refunds for “invalid traffic,” and the company is continuing to examine ad fraud and determine how to better deal with illegal traffic.
Advertisers receiving refunds were using DoubleClick Bid Manager to purchase traffic over the past few months. The company’s refunds seem to focus mostly on Q2 2017.
While Google is issuing refunds, many ad managers are crying foul, claiming only a fraction of the ad fraud costs are being refunded on their campaigns.
“Google has offered to reimburse its ‘platform fee,’ which ad buyers said typically ranges from about 7% to 10% of their total purchase,” The Times notes.
Google doesn’t control the entire ad fraud process, instead allowing its customers to connect to dozens of online ad exchanges in a matter of seconds. Buyers place bids on traffic and then receive results based typically on a CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost per 1,000 ad views) basis.
How Invalid Traffic And Clicks Occur
Exchanges sell traffic to bidders and place ads on their network of sites. Unfortunately, some networks and their publishers run fake traffic through “bots” and then use software to trigger bot generated ad clicks.
As technology to detect bot traffic and clicks has improved, some unscrupulous networks and website owners have discovered new ways to push fake traffic and ad clicks with little to no detection.
In some cases, fraudsters infect unsuspecting consumers’ computers with malware in order to drive traffic and invalid clicks directly from computers owned by real people.
The Problem Is In The Timing
Even when advertisers or their partners discover click fraud, it is often too late. Once payments are made to publishers, it can be hard and even impossible to recollect that money, as determining who is to blame for the fake traffic can be incredibly difficult.
It doesn’t help that the digital ad space is a vast ecosystem that includes various middlemen and layers of automation that execute bids in milliseconds.
As Marketing Pro Daily recently reported, Verizon only recently re-activated its YouTube ads after it was determined the video networks were placing the company’s ads next to videos filled with hate speech and other questionable material. Verizon has turned to a third-party verification network to ensure a similar situation does not occur.
Scott Spencer, director of product management for Google, would not comment on the amount of money being refunded to advertisers.
“Today, we can’t disclose the information about third parties,” Spencer said. “So when we aren’t able to catch invalid traffic before it impacts our advertisers and we’re unable to refund their media spend, it hurts us, even if we’re not responsible.”
The Problem Affects All Types Of Ads
Source:: Business 2 Community