Targeting video bots key to fraud-fighting: report

The White Ops/Videology white paper's case study shows that a focus on "human" CPMs leads to improved brand engagement.

Can video bots be eliminated? Apparently so, according to a white paper that looks at the impact of appropriate tech to get rid of the spiders and bots infesting the advertising space and eating up media spend.

The white paper, titled Eradicating Bot Fraud: The Path to Zero Tolerance, aims to address ways in which to eliminate – not just curb – the $7 billion potential loss to advertisers from fraudulent bot activity forecasted for 2016, focusing specifically on the video market.

The paper highlights a case study showing the impact of bot-fighting tech on two campaigns with identical inventory, giving one campaign bot-blocking tech. The authors then analyzed cost versus performance for both campaigns. The result of that effort showed a 22% increase in brand engagement rates with a marginal cost increase (2%). Specifically, the CPM mvoed from $10 to $11.12 for the bot-blocked campaign.

The additional cost is a good investment, says Chris Williams, an independent consultant and former president of the Interactive Bureau of Advertising Canada, because it addresses the brand lift KPI.

In addition, the paper offers advertisers a lay of the ad fraud land in video advertising with strategies on how to combat the enemy.

Tim Castree, managing director of Videology North America, which co-authored the paper along with online ad fraud detective firm White Ops, notes in a press release that the objective of the report was to help advertisers understand the extent of the problem, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of the right fraud-fighting technology.  

So where are bots most likely to hide? According to the paper, 67% of the time they infiltrate home PCs, and most often the computer owners are more than 65 years old, have outdated browsers and no or limited bot prevention software. Think of bots like the bedbugs of the computer space; they’re most active during the nighttime when lights are out and computers are on sleep mode. They also get hyper when ad campaigns come to market, usually at the end of a quarter or during a holiday season.

The report is useful because it launches a discussion around the effective CPMs, according to Williams, who has been looking closely at fraud-related issues. Last week he and Ehsan Mokhtari of security company, Sentrant, published a piece in MiC on the issue.

The white paper emphasizes that marketers need a change in mentality and should stop thinking in general CPMs and more in terms of “human” CPMs. That change in approach will impact the true cost of a program, it says.

In addition to that, the white paper offers a series of other recommendations including working with a tech partner that understands bot fraud, working to deliver an industry-wide standard for bot fraud, develop a collaborative working group with all those affected and getting those in the C-suite to recognize ad fraud for what it is: a criminal offence.

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