Fake ads in and fake news out

Mobile ad fraud on the rise


Mobile advertising is becoming increasingly popular amongst businesses and marketers. This is due to changes that are occurring in consumer spending behaviours and as a result, mobile advertising accounts for almost half of digital advertising spending.


As of mid-2016 the mobile ad business is valued $15.5b in the US and $2.1b in the UK. This shift in advertising spend has also resulted in an increased awareness of mobile ad fraud.


Mobile ad fraud refers to robot generated impressions and CTR. As a result, businesses are suffering monetary and opportunity costs from wasted ad spending and unproductive ad views.


One way to combat ad fraud is to implement an anti-fraud policy and strategy within your organisation and appoint an individual or team responsible for managing issues when they arise. This will ensure that prevention is managed before detection occurs.


However, in order to fully address this issue, industry wide conversation and cooperation is necessary. Rather than addressing blame to one particular segment of the digital sphere, publishers, agencies and advertisers work cohesively to eliminate fraud within their individual capacities.


For advertisers, this could be ensuring that their agency has a strategy established for prevent budgets being drained from fraudulent ads.


Agencies should audit their partners and verify the source of the traffic that is being gained.


Publishers should ensure the traffic that is purchased is from reputable and safe sources.


With mobile advertising spending is estimated to reach $50b globally by 2025, anti-fraud behaviours are essential in growing a successful digital network.





Fake news crackdown


It seems as though fake ads are in and fake news is out. Facebook has recently updated their site guidelines in order to prevent ‘fake’ news sites from gaining revenue within their site.


Fake news often appears on news feeds appearing similar to other media outlets, however, the information provided in these sights are highly false and misleading, whether satirically intentional or purely uninformed journalism.


The revised Facebook guidelines prohibit “illegal, misleading or deceptive” publications. Many are speculating this change is a response to the recent presidential election in the United States and the media storm that erupted on Facebook during the campaign period. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg denied these claims citing it as a “pretty crazy idea”.



Another criticism that has arisen is what is known as the ‘filter bubble’ in which users only view media outlets or stories on their profiles that align with their values or reflect their interests. This is because the current Facebook algorithm is programmed to reward engagement.


People generally only engage in content that interests them and therefore this content will continue to surface on their news feed. Rather than being wholly informed on issues, Facebook users are likely to be presented only pieces of information.


This ‘filter bubble’ could lead to long-term consequences regarding national and international matters of public interest. Yet from a study of 10 million political users; the difference in media reports on news feed would only be 1% if the algorithm were to change.


Zuckerberg attributed this media phenomenon to individual’s ability to self-censor news that is unaligned with their own personal beliefs.




Written by Katreena Pevec

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