Despite tools in place to attempt to avert ad bots and other forms of advertising fraud, Google is issuing refunds for marketing pieces that have recently been run on websites with fake traffic.
The ads in question were purchased using the DoubleClick Bid Manager over the course of a few months, primarily in the second quarter, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal.
Changes Coming to Digital Ad Buying
As frustrated rumblings come out of the marketing world about too small refunds that may only represent 7 to 10 percent of total ad spend on fraudulent ads, Google is seeking solutions.
Its Bid Manager is only designed to connect digital advertisers to advertising exchanges, those small percentages being returned represent the cut that Google receives for its part of the transaction. However, the search giant is working on a fix.
As a result of the huge fake traffic fiasco, Google has entered into discussions with the over 100 advertising exchanges, networks and publishers that it partners with to ask for more transparency surrounding refund policies. Simply put, what is the publisher’s policy on refunding a marketer’s spend should fake traffic be uncovered?
Google intends to include this information in the Bid Manager search results so buyers can filter by ad fraud policy if they so choose, but will be fully informed regardless.
Acting as Advertising Arbitrator
Google is in a unique place in the digital advertising ecosystem, as it acts as a type of advertising middleman of epic scale.
It not only connects marketers to markets, it is now informally charged with policing those markets. Fraud has been a problem for years, and for years Google has been looking for better ways to fight it.
Today, it has specialists who filter out fraud before an advertiser makes a bid on an ad, as well as those who can prevent payments to exchanges if invalid traffic is detected quickly after a purchase is made. Others discover historical instances of ad fraud, which is what triggered the most recent situation.
It might seem like digital advertising is still the Wild West of marketing, but it’s really much tamer than it has ever been. Although an estimated $6.5 billion in ad spend will be wasted on fraud this year, that number is down 10 percent year over year from 2016, based on a May report from the Association of National Advertisers and ad fraud detection firm WhiteOps.