Let’s face it. There are billions upon billions of dollars that get sunk into digital marketing and other media ad campaigns every year, and that figure is continuing to grow, especially when it comes to digital advertising. And part of those billions is wasted on fraudulent ad techniques. In fact, recent studies place the amount of wasted ad dollars at over 11 billion!

If buyers are continuing to go after digital ads so strongly – and it is a must despite the waste – imagine what would happen if fraud was suddenly curtailed? It would open the floodgates of the marketing budgets for certain. That would benefit both buyers and sellers.

But what could assure ad buyers that their budgets are not being thrown at bots, non-viewable ads, zombie apps, and other fraud concerns?

The first key in the war on fraud is transparency.

To that end, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) has been set up with the lofty goal of eliminating fraudulent traffic along with the promotion of transparency. Guidelines drafted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) now make up the IQG program. This program is designed to provide information for ad buyers, develop a uniform framework for disclosures from sellers, and review the practices of certified companies for compliance purposes. What information do buyers need in order to make informed decisions?

  • URL identities, or enough other transparency to compensate for masked URLs
  • The processes used by the seller (publisher, ad network, exchange) to combat fraud
  • A rating scale for traffic aslong with information for the buyer about how traffic is rated and what is done with low rated traffic

While this means a lot of work for sellers, the potential for greater rewards is obvious. While media buyers are waiting for fraud prevention practices to roll out, billions are being held back. Once anti-fraud goals have been reached, and transparency is an industry-wide standard, we can expect the full extent of those digital marketing budgets to be unleashed. Then everyone wins.