The Scoop on Digital Ad Fraud

Learn more about the mistake that is costing U.S. companies more than $19 billion a year.


In 2018, digital ad spend climbed to $107 billion in the United States. With many companies and political campaigns shifting funds from traditional TV spots to a variety of digital platforms, this number is expected to continue to grow.

As this investment climbs, so does the risk of “digital ad fraud.” Juniper Research released a report in May of 2018 that suggests U.S. brands “lose” $51 million per day, or about $19 billion a year, on fraudulent ads.

So what does that mean? And how can you avoid it?

Well, digital ad fraud occurs in a number of ways, but in short: it’s a common issue that prevents your paid ads from reaching the right audiences. This happens less often in proprietary ad purchases on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, and is most common within the programmatic advertising space.

programmatic buying ecosystems

The most frequent tactics of “digital ad fraud” include:

1. Ad stacking, where ad creative is stacked on top of each other within a webpage. Only one ad is seen, but impressions are counted for both.


2. Misrepresentation of a domain, where an ad publisher declares a site reliable for placement, when it actually isn’t.

One of the biggest ways to determine ad fraud is the performance of your campaign. Reporting is key! Impression numbers that are suspiciously high or too low are red flags to advertisers that your campaign may be at risk for ad fraud.

This makes having an ad buyer who understands both the purchasing and the reporting process vital to ensuring your ads are placed properly in the complicated programmatic ecosystem.

At IMGE, we partner with Moat to ensure every placement is the best placement. Moat provides our ads team with real-time analytics to ensure transparency and help us fight ad fraud. Within their analytics platform, our advertisers can visualize what percentage of traffic is coming from invalid sources, so we can better optimize your creative to get the most bang for your buck – without the ad fraud.

In addition to our relationship with Moat, everyone on our ads team has a relationship with programmatic partners. They are experts in buying strategy and placement preference. Our team understands not only the players in the programmatic space, they understand how to best utilize available inventory to get the best placement every time.

Learn more about our ad services here or reach out to speak with our team on how to avoid ad fraud.

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