new study mentioned in the The Wall Street Journal found that 11% of online display ads and 23% of video ads aren’t actually displayed to real people. It’s estimated that advertisers could lose more than $6 billion globally to ad fraud in 2015. Wow, I didn’t know. Did you?

How are they doing this? According to a HubSpot blog post they build fake websites to host ads, sell ad space to businesses, agencies, and ad exchanges – and then send out robots to make fake impressions and clicks on those ads. Shitty business, I would say.

Here’s an excerpt from the blog post explaining the fraud:

“If your marketing team is paying for online advertising, you want and expect the views and clicks on your ads to be coming from humans — real consumers who could potentially buy your product or service somewhere down the line. But in reality, a portion of those impressions and clicks you’re seeing in your analytics may not be human at all: They could be bots, i.e. computer programs that mimic real users to defraud advertisers. The hackers create these bots to exploit the paid ad system, and they’ve been stealing billions of dollars of ad spend from businesses and agencies around the world.”

I’ll hand over the rest of the blog post to you, but just let me finish off with an image from the post explaining how the impression fraud works. Quite interesting. OK, below it is another image showing how click fraud works. Also interesting.

Digital Ad Fraud

Digital Ad Fraud

The rest of the HubSpot blog post is here – including how the industry is fighting this. And it’s not an easy task. I wouldn’t say impossible, but at least very difficult. Enjoy!

(Images by HubSpot)