Prevalence of Ad Fraud and How to Detect It


If you have an online business, then chances are you’ve probably come across ad fraud. You may not even know it. Advertising fraud is a common occurrence in the online marketing world. However, there is still much more education needed for marketers to understand what ad fraud is and the potential effects it can have in the long run. Whether you mean to or not, placing fraudulent ads is a major threat for online businesses. So, where do you start learning about advertising fraud and how to detect it?

In this article, we’ll look into what ad fraud is, along with some of the signs of ad fraud. We’ll also cover how to detect advertising fraud and how using a location proxy such as a US proxy can help you detect local ad fraud easier. Keep reading to find out what you need to be aware of to avoid advertising fraud.

What Is Ad Fraud?

Ad fraud is a broad term used to describe simulated traffic, impressions and clicks. These actions are usually the result of bots or fake accounts. Blackhatters and hackers have many different techniques that they use to fake traffic on their websites or social media accounts. Using these simulated traffic techniques is not just about inflating your website statistics, but it is also a way for these hackers to make money as Pay-Per-Click ads (PPC) reward their efforts. 

Advertising fraud can be extremely debilitating for your website. Not detecting ad fraud can start to poison all other aspects of your optimization, such as content, viewability and performance.

One thing that makes ad fraud so complex is that it is forever evolving. Newer, smarter and even more sinister ways of using advertising fraud continually come into play. And running an ad bot and fake ad site is also very easy to do. 

4 Warning Signs of Ad Fraud

If you suspect ad fraud, here are some of the warning signs of advertising fraud.

  1. No Performance

A lack of performance such as conversions, sales and other business outcomes is one of the most concrete warning signs of ad fraud. You should be able to see the lack of performance when comparing the performance of your ad campaigns to other social media channels.

  1. Poor On-Site Analytics

High bounce rates and short session durations can also be warning signs of advertising fraud. Once again, this can be easily spotted when comparing the performance of one platform with another. If you notice a lot of obvious human behavior, such as leaving comments or completing forms where another platform shows nothing, you should suspect ad fraud. 

  1. Abnormally High CTRs

Abnormally high click-through rates (CTR) are another warning sign to be wary of. If you see CTRs higher than 0.3% or even more suspiciously 1%, you should definitely look for some of the other signs we mentioned, as this could indicate advertising fraud.

  1. Suspicious Site Lists

The majority of fraud originates from odd and obscure websites. As such, it is a good idea to audit your site-level reporting and watch for any unfamiliar websites or long-tail site placements.

How Can You Detect Ad Fraud?

There are ad fraud detection firms that can help you to assess your ads for any signs of fraud. However, if you prefer doing these processes in-house, you can also use a proxy to detect advertising fraud. Localized ads can be verified by using a location proxy such as a US proxy. This is because localized ads will only show up if your IP address appears to be from that country or area. 

You can use location proxies for different countries if you run a global business and want to verify your localized ads. Verifying localized ads is much easier than trying to verify international ads. 

What Is Ad Verification?

Ad verification is a process used by online marketers to determine if real people see their ads. Ad verification looks at ad placement, performance, context, and other factors in determining if the ads are being viewed and clicked on by real people.

Ad verification is an important process for online marketers to do as it can avoid ad fraud and the resulting effects on website optimization, performance, and brand reputation.

Final Thoughts

Ad fraud is all too common and can have detrimental effects on the receiving website. There are a few warning signs, such as no performance and abnormally high CTRs to keep an eye on. Also, by using location-specific proxies, such as a US proxy for ads in the United States, you can implement ad verification to ensure real people are clicking on your ads.