Friday, March 13, 2015

TAG: Battling the Bots

I wrote last week about how many advertisers are exactly sure of the effectiveness of their digital marketing campaigns -- who is viewing them and what they're thinking.

In an article this week, the ANA and White Ops released a study that shows there may be a reason for all the lack of clarity: almost 25% of video ad impressions may actually not be viewed by anyone, and may in fact be be bot fraud.  Same goes for 17 percent of display.

If accurate, both numbers are pretty staggering.  We all know that bots, trolls and fraudsters are problems out there, in the Internet.  But this study points to how much money marketers and advertisers may really be wasting on campaigns if their content is being diverted to these black holes.  Millions upon millions upon millions of dollars.

The article also announces that  advertisers are fighting back.  The ANA, the 4A's, and the IAB have backed the formation of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), what will be "a cross-industry organization to combat ad fraud, malware and piracy."   I imagine its first piece of business will be figuring out how to really measure it.  Then, how to face down each one.  As the head of the 4A's, Nancy Hill, points out, until now there have been many ad hoc approaches to take down these digital demons on a case-by-case basis -- nothing holistic.

I've been to many ANA annual conferences, as a sponsor, and am always looking forward to the high level industry calls to action -- in past years, leaders have called to arms for better measurement, talent recruitment or creative compensation.  I imagine this year, bots will get top billing.

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