Article

Karolina Rastauskaite
Karolina Rastauskaite 20 May 2020

A Guide to Verifying Ads with Proxies

Ad fraud is on the rise, just like most other vices on the internet. Estimates are that advertisers lost $6 to $42 billion to digital ad fraud in 2019. Digital content publishers do not only lose their ad budgets to these fraudsters but also miss any expected return on investment in advertising strategies. Worse is that this form of criminal activity can place your business's ads on websites that host illegal content. Such an action can adversely damage your brand's reputation. Verifying ads has, therefore, never been more critical to advertisers than it is right now.

How to stay safe from digital ad fraud

Use legitimate ways of building web traffic

Avoid actions such as purchasing traffic to increase your number of website visitors. There are traffic vendors out there who sell site visits at fixed prices. Black hat mass traffic vendors will make the promise of fixed website visits from ads at often ridiculously low prices. Such a vendor can only perform such a feat using bot traffic.

If you want to keep bot traffic off your website, avoid paying for fixed traffic from advertisers. Use legitimate methods such as social media posts, email campaigns, or search engine optimisation. Rev up these disciplines by increasing their paid components for best results.

The search engines will not only reward you with a better ranking, but your platforms will have an increase in organic traffic and engagement. These are the best sources of ad return on investment.

Auditing traffic sources

The rise of big data analytics programs has made it much easier for you to understand where your web traffic is from. You can, therefore, use programs such as Google Analytics to keep tabs of your traffic sources. You will, for instance, view traffic directed to your platforms from your email marketing campaigns or social media promotions.

If you have ads running and notice suspicious traffic from unknown sources, you should filter the traffic to differentiate what percentage of it is from data centers and bots. Afterward, use proxies to verify ads and to dig up non-human sources of traffic.

Adopt ad anti fraud measures

The industry has various mechanisms designed to tackle ad fraud. You will not find one silver bullet to solve all ad fraud worries. You can, however, adopt a blend of fraud protection tools such as ads.txt and captcha use coupled with other detection software.

Verifying ads

Ad fraud causes wastage of advertisers' money by producing ad impressions from fraudulent websites. This means that the message carried by the advert does not reach its potential targets. Ad fraud could lead to a poor display of the ad in the target audience's browser.

The digital advertising segment has expanded so fast that it has overtaken the formidable traditional advertising industry. It is estimated that by 2026, the online advertising industry will be worth over $350 billion. The rise of this market is nevertheless endangered by increasing ad fraud. 

Some of the factors that a business needs to keep in mind when verifying ads are ad placement, ad-context, and whether their target audience has viewed the ads. Ad verification via the use of residential proxies can help businesses to spot the hurdles that keep ads away from the intended audience.

The ad verification process

  • A robust ad verifying service will build trackers or beacons and hide their activity using residential IPs. 
  • The ad verification process uses beacons or tags embedded in the ad markup. These objects will analyze the content and appropriateness of the publishers' pages.
  • The ad verifier will then send a report of the findings to the agency or advertiser 
  • The ad verifying process will not automatically stop suspicious ads from displaying, but the information collected will identify fraudulent ad publishers and blacklist them.
     

Benefits of using residential IPs for ad verification

  • Internet service providers sell residential IPs. Data center IPs, on the other hand, are sold by third-party providers and only represent a combination of numbers. Data center IPs are consequently easily recognisable by keen ad fraudsters so they can easily block their surveillance activity. 
  • Residential IPs use valid IP addresses. Their activities, therefore, resemble organic human activity and are less likely to be banned, blacklisted, or flagged. 
  • Residential IPs will hide the ad tracker's IP address and are therefore perfect for verifying ads in different geographic zones. You can, consequently, use them to view how your ads are displayed in various places globally.
  • Residential IPs can also help you check on the performance of your competitors' advertising strategy, without betraying your business's identity.

The benefits of ad verification

  1. Helps to maintain industry best standards and transparent practices on-site traffic acquisition
  2. Preserves ad budgets by ensuring efficiency and delivery or targeted audiences
  3. Increases business return on investment after advertising by increasing revenue
  4. Ensures the unhindered growth of the digital advertising market
  5. Preserves a brand's image and reputation by ensuring that ads are not displayed in inappropriate or illegal content websites with content such as hate speech, violence or pornography
  6. Spots malware such as phishing, auto-redirects, post or pre-click malware integration or drive-by downloads

Conclusion

The growing movement to increase transparency in advertising technology hinges on ad verifying. Business needs more insights on their ad budgets to keep business and the whole industry rising. If you are a digital advertiser, use ad verification to ensure success and peace of mind.

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