Despite marketers targeting customers through mobile advertising channels, ad fraud continues to be a leading concern in programmatic advertising.

According to research by media buying platform iotec, marketers have expressed several transparency concerns within the mobile advertising industry, with 50% viewing ad fraud as a key challenge within mobile programmatic.

The research was based on responses from 500 mobile marketing decision makers, and found 50% were ‘very concerned’ on the impact of ad fraud towards mobile, and 41% were ‘somewhat concerned’ on the issue.

In addition, ad viewability is identified as an issue among 29% of marketers with recent challenges surfacing including ‘domain spoofing’ and misplaced ad inventory.

Hitting marketers

Across Europe, nearly 75% of marketers believe ad fraud is a serious issue to their operations, according to Inmobi. Problems identified among marketers involved invalid traffic from bots and scripts, click cramming, unauthorised re-brokering and ad stacking.

The issue came to ahead earlier in the year, with Marc Pritchard, chief marketing officer at Proctor & Gamble, calling the relationship between both marketers and suppliers commented the media supply chain was “murky at best and fraudulent at worst”. That compounded by the issue of ad placement across the programmatic industry, with many household brands appearing on publisher sites promoting extreme content.

According to Paul Wright, iotec’s CEO, ad fraud continues to “dominate the conversation” surrounding digital advertising as we head into 2018, and he doesn’t expect it to “quieten down”. However, there are some efforts being made to quell the issue.


Last month saw the IAB UK launching its ‘Gold Standard’ initiative in an effort to tackle ad fraud in the programmatic space and improve industry standards in online advertising.

Some of the key measures outline to improve advertising standards were the addition of ads.text for all websites carrying ads to improve transparency for programmatic buyers and the LEAN Principles for lighter-weighted ads aimed at improving user experience.

“As part of this commitment to tackling fraud in digital advertising, iotec have already supported all actions aligned to the ‘IAB Gold Standard’ announced last month including the implementation of ads.txt, adhering to LEAN principles and holders of JICWEBS seals for both brand safety and anti fraud,” Wright added.

With mobile activity accounting for over 50% of the UK’s digital advertising, according to the IAB UK, the platform is becoming an essential tool for marketers to target their campaigns to the right customer channels. With ad fraud misleading users into false information, lack of, or inappropriate data could result in long-term problems for those who rely on programmatic to engage with buyers.