5 Ways to Counter Ad Fraud Without a Detection Tool

Although the most effective means to counter ad fraud and click fraud is to use an ad verification tool, we all know that they cost money.
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If you’re a small business that’s just starting out with a minimal budget, the big question you may be wondering is what you can do to counter ad fraud, and if there’s another way to do so without resorting to a tool?

In this article, we’ll be talking about five methods you can adopt as an advertiser to start countering ad fraud without fully relying on an ad verification tool! 

This article is written and supervised by Spider AF, Japan's #1 tool against ad fraud. 

5 Ways to Counter Ad Fraud Without a Tool

Without further ado, here are five methods you can try to start countering ad fraud without using a single tool. 

Method #1: Use a DSP operator already adopting ad fraud detection

Whenever you choose to advertise through a Demand-Side Platform or DSP, we highly recommend you to choose an operator that thoroughly tackles ad fraud. A good example of a credible DSP operator should:

  • Be linked with an ad verification operator
  • Have an ad verification tool installed
  • Have measures in place when ad fraud occurs

Another important item to check from a credible DSP operator is how they plan against ad fraud.

Operators who take ad fraud seriously should already be blacklisting malicious domains, and in essence, have a good understanding of the subject. So opting for a DSP operator that ticks all the marks above may help prevent you from purchasing any unwanted ad slots.

Method #2: Monitor user behavior in real-time

Setting up a tag that analyzes your ads to monitor users’ behavior in real-time is also an effective method when trying to detect ad fraud.

Some of the behaviors you should be looking out for include abnormal amounts of traffic coming from a single device or repeated reloads occurring within seconds as these can potentially be bot traffic.

As on overview, here are some of the common types of ad fraud you should be looking out for.

Types of Ad Fraud

Hidden Ads

Fraudsters often use hidden ads to manipulate a website's tags to display an ad outside the display area or overlay it onto another ad banner to get impressions. This type of ad fraud enables fraudsters to redirect you to an ads' landing page, letting them take the credit for further actions you take.

Auto-refresh Ads

Auto-refresh ads is a technique used by some publishers to automatically refresh ads on their site to increase impressions per visitor’s session. This could be detrimental to your advertising budget if you are paying for a cost per impression (CPM) model.

Domain Spoofing

Domain spoofing is a common ad fraud method where fraudsters to use a fake URL that combines the affected domain name with a seemingly believable one. This can greatly affect advertisers as they may lose clicks that could potentially turn into paying customers, and they are also at risk of losing customer trust if a lead ends up on the fraudsters landing page.

On another note, check out how you can stop clicks generated from strange domains in this article 👉 Getting Ad Clicks from Strange Domains? Here's How to Stop Them.

Bot Traffic

Bot traffic are programs that manipulate browsers to generate impressions and invalid traffic or clicks. This can cause digressions in user engagement or behavior by generating massive amounts of fake clicks at repetitive intervals.

Click Injection

Click injection is a type of ad fraud or click spamming common in mobile apps. Fraudsters can listen to "install broadcasts" via click injection, allowing them to detect when other apps installs occur. This then prompts a click before the installation is done and the fraudster is subsequently credited with the app install.

This type of mobile ad fraud can have a substantial impact on attribution data and ad budget as advertisers are led to believe that a legitimate has download occurred from a trusted source.

Click Farms

Click farms or also known as device farms is a tactic used by fraudsters to harvest enormous amounts of ad displays and clicks by utilizing bots. This form of ad fraud uses hundreds to thousands of mobile smartphones that are programmed to take specific actions, such as clicks and downloads, on specific apps on multiple instances.

If you happen to encounter any of these suspicious activity, you should add them to a blacklist and suspend the affected ads to reduce the risk of ad fraud and false positives.

>‍> Learn more: 9 Common Ad Fraud Methods and How to Deal with Them

Method #3: Analyze ad performance data

Ad fraud can also be identified from your ad's performance data after delivery.

For example, if a site has an unusually low or high CTR (click-through rate), or has an evidently high number of fraudulent orders or non-payment compared to other sites, the invalid traffic or conversions coming from the ads have a higher risk of being ad fraud.

Although it is important to determine whether these sites are really fraudulent, it is also safer to register these high-risk sites to a blacklist and suspend the ads to suppress any damages.

Method #4: Use a PMP (private marketplace)

A PMP (Private Marketplace) refers to a system used to place ads in a limited number of media and advertisers.

By limiting your ads to only high-quality platforms with guaranteed quality content, you can avoid finding out whether or not the platform is suitable for your ad, which is a common problem if you were to use an auction-style format.

However, PMPs tend to be more expensive than DSPs, and advertisers must also pass a screening process before they can participate. Depending on your company's situation, there may be cases where using PMP is not optimal, so it’s best to keep these factors in mind.

Method #5: Maintain a whitelist

In contrast to a blacklist, which is composed of harmful and inappropriate sites, a whitelist is made up of sites that have already been deemed safe. Since many companies have their own whitelist, it’s safe to say that this list acts as a straightforward method to strengthen your defenses.

Also, do keep in mind that it is important to keep your whitelist updated with new websites, or else it will be difficult to scale your ad campaigns in the long run. Additionally, make sure to regularly check even the websites you have previously deemed safe as these may change over time.

Fight ad fraud and stop wasted ad spend

As we explained in this article, it is possible to counter ad fraud without fully relying on an ad fraud detection tool by monitoring in real-time and analyzing your ad's delivery data. 

However, there's also so much that one could cover in a short amount of time and it is often difficult to manually go through checking each data points to track down ad fraud.

Spider AF takes away the struggle of manually detecting and eliminating ad fraud through advanced automation and helps advertisers drive better ad performance. Get started with our 14-day free trial and see for yourself the big difference when your ads are clean of ad fraud.

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