Using an IPPN to fight ad fraud
It’s a well-known fact: the internet is a marketer’s dream, offering brands the chance to engage with consumers on a one-to-one basis, on a huge scale. Ads can be precisely targeted to users based on their location, device, browsing history, and so on.
However, this ecosystem has become a lucrative frontier for international fraud. According to the World Federation of Advertisers, ad fraud is now the second biggest source of income globally for organized criminal gangs, after drugs. The gains for criminals can be significant, which unfortunately means that the losses to brands and web domains – and consumers who are at the receiving end of fraud – are equally so. Juniper Research has estimated that total online, mobile and in-app ad fraud losses will reach $42 billion globally and will cost advertisers $44 billion in 2022. Digital ad technology has allowed for precision marketing, but it’s also provided a tool for fraud and fired the starting gun on an ongoing and fierce arms race.
How can a business wanting to promote itself via digital advertising avoid wasting a massive part of its marketing budget on fraudsters? How can it verify its ads are placed correctly and that they attract the intended target audience?
Through an IPPN (IP proxy network).
What is an IP Proxy Network?
Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to view or browse the internet openly without being blocked or served misleading content.
IPPN harnesses the power of real consumers who have willingly opted-in to the proxy network, usually in return for ad-free applications. They can also opt-out at any given time. These millions of real consumer IP addresses are used as a gateway for organizations to browse the internet without being blocked, and therefore see the internet with complete transparency just as their own consumers see it.
How can businesses use an IP proxy network to fight ad fraud?
With fraudsters getting more and more sophisticated and businesses losing more and more money on these digital crimes, it is critical that firms test their campaigns from every angle.
However, checking ads for fraud without a proxy network means companies (in using their own IP addresses) are exposing themselves to fraudsters. Remember, ad fraud is a criminal’s day job, meaning he/she will be able to quickly and easily spot when he/she is being automatically checked by companies, and serve false data in response to cover his/her tracks. Also bear in mind that ads are often targeted at very specific end-users or end-user groups, requiring brands fighting fraud to check how they’d receive all of these different ads as if they were all of these different end-users.
This is where the power of an IP proxy network comes in – and where its business value shines.
Using a proxy network, a business is able to select the geographical location, the device and the ISP (internet service provider) its customer is using to visit a site where ads are being served. If a brand is promoting its ads in Copenhagen, Denmark, for example, it can use an IPPN to route traffic through the IP address of an opted-in consumer based in the city, and view the ads as if they are this individual. They’ll then be directed by the ad in exactly the same way that they would be if they were the Danish consumer – which hopefully means going to the legitimate, intended destination and not a malware-infected site!
How does an IP proxy network tackle ad fraud at scale?
Digital advertising technology is a double-edged sword. It’s allowed for automated distribution and targeting of ads at massive scale, but as a result, has meant that checking so many ads for veracity is a challenge. These ads are unique in terms of what/where/when they’re served, and the variables dictating this are changing all the time.
An IPPN is needed to create a session based on the attributes of a specific user (via their IP address), and then to test the multiple different ads that might be served to the user – and which are all competing for his/her attention. Think of a social media site for example; using an IP proxy network, the social media company can split the user session to immediately and concurrently check all ads served to the user at that particular time.
This is no small operation, often requiring dedicated teams who are working to protect users and brands from ad fraud. Equipped with a proxy network, though, these businesses can clean up their networks at scale. This leads us neatly onto our final commonly-asked question:
Ad fraudsters have developed multiple methods to identify a business’s advertising ‘soft spot’ and exploit its revenue chain. The value of digital advertising is huge, and with a large proportion of ad spend (from a large proportion of businesses) now dedicated to digital advertising, every business is a potential target for ad fraud.
Fraudsters can execute criminal campaigns very quickly on a massive scale, and the only way for businesses to keep pace in this arms race is to adopt a means of responding just as quickly and at equal scale. This can only be achieved via an IP proxy network, which protects businesses, online platforms, end-users and a brand’s bottom line.
By Or Lenchner