A magnifying glass on top of the words "Web Traffic." Fraudulent traffic is something advertisers need to watch out for.

It’s important that you spend your advertising dollars wisely and avoid fraudulent traffic.

Estimates reveal that programmatic rules digital advertising despite the risks of fraudulent traffic. By 2017, 2 of 3 digital ads will fall under the programmatic umbrella, which makes this next statistic ridiculous. Forecasts say $7.2 billion will be wasted on bot traffic and other forms of ad fraud.

Ad fraud is certainly not a victimless crime. In fact, brands and marketing agencies are footing most of that wasteful bill. It’s a blight on the entire digital marketing industry. It’s the slow, painful death of advertising budgets.  So how do we protect ourselves?

Keep an Eye Out for Fraudulent Traffic

Sadly, we have to leave room in the budget for bot traffic. There’s no way to completely avoid it. That said, you can view traffic reports to spot the worst offenders. What should you watch out for?

  • Strange domain names
  • Authorless sites with no presence on social media
  • Unexplained jumps in CTR

Fighting Back with Technology

Use services that track and estimate fraudulent traffic. Work with ad networks that use verification measures. This is your opportunity to make sure ad buyers are on the level. Check out the reputation of your partners. Build a whitelist of trusted sites, as well as blacklist sites that send you bad traffic.

Use the Right Metrics

Yes, some KPIs are easier to fake than others. Spending that is based on clicks, rather than on conversions, results in more bot traffic. We all need to have a “the buck stops here” attitude when it comes to this growing menace. No other industry in the world would turn a blind eye to $7 billion in waste per year. Many industries don’t even know what $7 billion looks like.

Marketers need to focus on buying tactics that defend precious ad dollars. Awareness needs to be raised, not to shame scammers who will always do what they do, but to bring everyone else in the industry together to fight the problem. The more scam artists that are identified and blacklisted, the better protected brands and agencies will be.