Every day this week, PerformanceIN will provide background and expert commentary on IAB Believes: a five-part series which clarifies the UK organisation’s stance on some of ad industry’s biggest talking points.

Today (Wednesday, August 19), the IAB UK outlines the work currently being done with industry partners to minimise ad fraud.

The IAB says…

Firstly, that it’s “no surprise” that digital advertising suffers from fraud, which occurs in all industries.

“As digital advertising has grown in popularity – so, too, has the number of criminals seeking to profiteer from it,” says the bureau – citing digital ad spend’s growth in the UK from a £825 million industry in 2004 to £7.2 billion in 2014.

The temptation to tap into this burgeoning market has lead the US body, Association of National Advertisers (ANA), to predict that fraud is costing advertisers some $6.3 billion worldwide this year, with programmatic set to make the problem worse.

However, the IAB doesn’t believe that quantifying the problem serves much of a purpose, choosing to commit their resources on “ensuring that the significant investment brands make in digital advertising is effective and reaches the right audience.”

But for the industry to understand what it’s fighting, they must first reach an agreement on what constitutes ad fraud.

“We need to compare apples with apples, using common definitions and standards which distinguish between bad practice and fraud, because not all ‘non-human’ traffic is fraudulent,” says the bureau.

Acting under the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS), the Anti-Fraud Working Group was set up by the IAB last year, publishing a best practice document on how anyone involved in the trading of digital display can minimise exposure to ad fraud. The group also plan to release a ‘traffic taxonomy’ document, and develop an accreditation of fraud detection companies.

The IAB remains confident that its moves to educate the market with guidelines and accreditation will result in ‘a significant reduction’ in this type of crime, but it requires an all round, industry-wide effort.

Our expert says…

“Just how do the schemers get away with it?”

Eric Wheeler is CEO at publisher monetisation platform 33Across

“It’s impossible to have a conversation today about online advertising without fraud entering into the dialog. Ideally, that will become a thing of the past. But until then, and despite the advances in technology and aggressive efforts to stem the source of fraudulent traffic, programmatic and fraud remain closely linked.

Just how do the schemers get away with it? Fraudulent traffic most often comes by way of bots that appear to be genuine impressions. This has proven costly to both advertisers and publishers – the most oft-quoted stat on the subject estimates $6.3B will be lost to fraudulent traffic this year alone.

At the heart of the issue is the difficulty of distinguishing the bots from legitimate traffic. The good news is there are industry groups like the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) and technology partners to help detect fraud and suspicious traffic. Finding the right partners will help you put the right controls in place to thwart fraudsters.”

PerformanceIN is working in association with the IAB to give people new to performance marketing a chance to attend Performance Marketing Insights: London free of charge. Applicants must complete a form ahead of the deadline on September 16, in the lead up to October’s event.