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Mobile Ad Fraud: The Way Forward

Tim Maytom

Christophe Collet, CEO of S4M, argues that the mobile marketing industry has tolerated fraud for too long, and introduces a new metric he hopes will drive fraud out, and efficiency up.

ChristopheCollet s4m picDespite the fast maturation of the mobile advertising market, ad fraud concerns continues to escalate and turmoil persist for advertisers. Simply put, advertisers can no longer turn a blind eye towards ad fraud or dismiss the issue just as another cost of doing business.

Today, advertisers are looking at different success metrics depending on their buying model. Those buying CPM are looking for visible impressions, whereas success for advertisers buying CPC means looking at clicks net of fraud.

What the industry really needs is an agreed-upon indicator of success, qualifying human engagement for all the different mobile advertising efforts. Media buyers should insist on certified technologies with a zero-tolerance attitude towards measurement discrepancies.

Earlier this year, S4M analysed a sample of 2.3bn ad requests, and 87 mobile campaigns to evaluate the state of ad fraud in mobile advertising campaigns. The study looked at counting discrepancies for all mobile key performance indicators including, impressions, clicks, landing page arrivals and app installs, to find an estimate of  more than £8 billion in ad spend wasted to fraud. As a response to advertisers’ pain points today, S4M introduced the Cost-Per-Landing-Page (CPLP) buying model where marketers are billed only based on human engagements to avoid wasted media spend.

Just to scratch the surface of our infographic, we found a discrepancy of 26% just between the number of ad requests and the actual number of impressions rendered on mobile devices. There are several factors that these discrepancies can occur, if the user has poor network connection or if the ad creative is too heavy, just to name a few possible explanations.

Advertisers should not be charged based on ad request because a quarter of their media budget is wasted. It would be a disservice to both advertisers and the end-user if these measurement discrepancies continue.

For the end user, ad units that are slow to render or those that don’t appear at all can be irritating and intrusive on their most personal devices. These occurrences will only push mobile users to adopt ad blockers on their smartphones and put brands and their mobile consumers on a rocky relationship.

On the other hand, for advertisers, it is even harder to evaluate the impact on their investments and more difficult to put in place lasting strategies in the mobile channel. Measurement discrepancies not only cloud real campaign performance figures, brands will end up with flawed benchmarks on their consumer engagement and ROIs in the mobile channel.

To help advertisers make the most of their media spend and ensure the end-user remains at the heart of mobile advertising efforts, we need a buying model that is evaluated based on true human engagements.

CPLPVisuThis is why the CPLP is a game changer for the industry; advertisers are billed only when the user has truly arrived on the landing page. They have the peace of mind that every precedent actions before the arrival on the page has been qualified and validated.

This includes a true impression (100 per cent rendered + 1 second), seen by a user followed by a true click net of fraud and finally a real arrival on the landing page also 100 per cent rendered + 1 second. As S4M is only player to be MRC certified on mobile post-ad metrics today, we are confident that this buying model will help brands understand their ROIs in the mobile channel with more clarity.

Shifting towards zero-tolerance on measurement discrepancies and certified technology will help us ensure a brighter future of mobile advertising that benefits both advertisers and end-users.

Mobile is the most powerful medium and the best chance for advertisers to engage with their consumers, so we need to tackle ad fraud challenges before it is too late. Quality mobile advertising is key to ensure that users continue to have free access to great content, a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.

This sponsored article was written by Christophe Collet, CEO at S4Mand is editorially independent from Mobile Marketing Magazine