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History and Impact of Digital Ad Fraud

presentation on the impact of digital ad fraud on marketers and publishers

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History and Impact of Digital Ad Fraud

  1. 1. December 2020 / Page 0marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou History and Global Impact of Digital Ad Fraud December 2020 Augustine Fou, PhD. acfou [at] mktsci.com 212. 203 .7239
  2. 2. December 2020 / Page 1marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Real billboards .. vs virtual Infinite quantities of digital ads can be created on real or fake sites Unlike real billboards that people actually drive by in the physical world … Limitless quantities of digital ads can be created on fake sites that humans never visit.
  3. 3. December 2020 / Page 2marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Not humans, something else
  4. 4. December 2020 / Page 3marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Leads (CPL) Sales (CPA) Lead Gen $3.4B Other $6.7B • classifieds • sponsorship • rich media • audio CPM/CPC are top targets for fraud Impressions (CPM/CPV) Clicks (CPC) Video 17% 92% digital ad spend ($125B – U.S. FY 2019) Source: IAB FY 2019 Report mobile search 21% desktop search 23% desktop display 11% mobile display 20% 8%
  5. 5. December 2020 / Page 4marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Context and Sizing of Ad Fraud
  6. 6. December 2020 / Page 5marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Industry downplayed fraud for years “The 11 percent decline in two years is particularly noteworthy” – ANA (2019) “IVT is between 1 – 3%” – GroupM (2019) “IVT is 1.41%” – TAG (2019)
  7. 7. December 2020 / Page 6marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Famous botnets, primary use/stats 2019 20202017 20182015 20162013 20142011 20122010 IceBucket CTV fraud, 2B imps /day Coreflood DDoS, web scraping, credential stealing Grum 40B spam emails /day ZeroAccess Click fraud Bitcoin mining 488 TB traffic /day Avalanche Ransomewar e, RATs, banking trojans Mirai IoT malware, 665 Gbps DDoS Methbot Video ad fraud, 300M /day Hyphbot Ad fraud, 34k websites 3ve Ad fraud 1.7M devices, 12B ad req /day Conficker DDoS,10M computers Judy Ad fraud, 41 apps, 37M devices Fireball Ad fraud browser hijack, 250M devices SndApps IMEI/person al info stealing, adware Chameleon Click fraud, fake mouse moves, ad fraud Rustock Email spam, 2,000 /second RottenSys Android adware, malware WannaCry Kelihos Necurs Zeus Dridex Emotet Spam, banking trojans Ransomware WePurchaseApps 127 apps, millions of downloads Cheetah 600 apps, 4+ billion downloads DO Global 6 apps, 50M downloads, ad fraud VidMate 500M installs, ad fraud iHandy 46 apps, 100M installs, ad fraud DiCaprio CTV fraud Grindr faking Roku streams CooTek 60 apps, 50M downloads, ad fraud ClearSkins Fake Sites, 80M video views /day Adap.tv Video ad fraud (unnamed) 5,000 mobile apps, display ad fraud Boris Network for sites for ad fraud FreeStreams Network of sites, audience overlap ad fraud DDoS Spam, banking, ransomware Ad fraud
  8. 8. December 2020 / Page 7marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Overall fraud is more than just bots Sites and apps that cheat may look fine in bot detection reports 1.3% + 57% = 58% bot fraud site/app fraud overall fraud bot detection sees this bot detection misses this
  9. 9. December 2020 / Page 8marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou 2020 • More than 1,000 different user- agents • More than 300 different appIDs • At least 2 million spoofed IP addresses • About 1,700 SSAI server IPs located in 9 countries Source: WhiteOps, April 2020 “IceBucket, the Largest Ever Connected TV Bot Attack” “the bot operation impersonated more than 2 million people in over 30 countries, generating 2 billion impressions, targeting high value CTV inventory ($20-$30 CPM)” 2019 Source: Buzzfeed News • 8 apps, more than 2 billion downloads • Ad fraud in background, click flooding, stealing info New “largest ever” scheme every year Vast botnets targeting high-value video/CTV ads, disguising/hiding
  10. 10. December 2020 / Page 9marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Millions of apps on millions of phones Big companies openly committing fraud; in-app is far less measurable October 2018 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/ article/craigsilverman/how-a- massive-ad-fraud-scheme- exploited-android-phones-to November 2018 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/ article/craigsilverman/android- apps-cheetah-mobile-kika- kochava-ad-fraud March 2019 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/ article/craigsilverman/in-banner- video-ad-fraud April 2019 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/ article/craigsilverman/google- play-store-ad-fraud-du-group- baidu
  11. 11. December 2020 / Page 10marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Selected examples of mobile app fraud Openly committing ad fraud with apps, adware, malware December 2020 https://threatpost.com/rai nbowmix-apps-google- play-ad-fraud/159982/ August 2020 https://www.zdnet.com/ar ticle/google-play-apps- promised-free-shoes-but- users-got-ad-fraud- malware-instead/ January 2020 https://labs.bitdefender.co m/2020/01/seventeen- android-nasties-spotted-in- google-play-total-over- 550k-downloads/ February 2020 https://www.mobilemarket er.com/news/google- removes-600-apps-from- google-play-to-reduce-ad- fraud/572700/ June 2020 https://www.trendmicro.c om/en_us/research/20/f/n ew-tekya-ad-fraud-found- on-google-play.html
  12. 12. December 2020 / Page 11marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou multiterra ctv fraud monarch ctv fraud CTV/OTT Fraud So Far in 2020 January 2020 https://www.buzzfeednews.com/a rticle/craigsilverman/grindr-roku- apps-ad-fraud-scheme March 2020 https://www.adweek.com/progra mmatic/pixalate-ad-fraud-scheme- roku-murkiness-ctv/ Dicaprio ctv fraud icebucket ctv fraud April 2020 https://www.marketingdive.com/new s/recent-ctv-ad-fraud-scheme-could- be-biggest-ever/576226/ https://www.axios.com/multiterra- ad-fraud-scheme-911438e5-4a9d- 4f2f-9284-e523bbe779f5.html September 2020 “DiCaprio” “Monarch” “IceBucket” “MultiTerra”
  13. 13. December 2020 / Page 12marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Global Impact of Ad Fraud
  14. 14. December 2020 / Page 13marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Why is ad fraud bad? Advertisers Publishers Bad Guys 1/3 2/3 Ads are not shown to humans, wasted ad dollars Ad revenue declines because dollars are stolen by bad guys. Steal money using fake ads; siphon dollars out of ecosystem.
  15. 15. December 2020 / Page 14marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Chase: -99% reach, no impact “JPMorgan had already decided last year to oversee its own programmatic buying operation. Advertisements for JPMorgan Chase were appearing on about 400,000 websites a month. [But] only 12,000, or 3 percent, led to activity beyond an impression. [Then, Chase] limited its display ads to about 5,000 websites. We haven’t seen any deterioration on our performance metrics,” Ms. Lemkau said.” “99% reduction in ‘reach’ … Same Results.” Source: NYTimes, March 29, 2017 (because it wasn’t real, human reach)
  16. 16. December 2020 / Page 15marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou P&G: cut $200M, no impact “Once we got transparency, it illuminated what reality was,” said Mr. Pritchard. P&G then took matters into its owns hands and voted with its dollars, he said.” “As we all chased the Holy Grail of digital, self-included, we were relinquishing too much control— blinded by shiny objects, overwhelmed by big data, and ceding power to algorithms,” Mr. Pritchard said. Source: WSJ, March 2018
  17. 17. December 2020 / Page 16marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Uber: cut 80%, no change • Uber cut $120M from $150M, signups remained steady; paid signups dropped, and organic signups increased to replace it. • Uber sued 100 mobile exchanges for falsifying placement reports and fabricating transparency reports.
  18. 18. December 2020 / Page 17marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Local news killed by fake news Local news sites relied on ad revenue; fake sites stole ad budgets McClatchy Bankruptcy 1,300 local news “deserts”2,000 newspapers died
  19. 19. December 2020 / Page 18marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Fake news feeds on ad dollars Fake local news sites tricked users, committed ad fraud for years Discovery of Fake Sites fake local news sites
  20. 20. December 2020 / Page 19marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Look at Your Own Analytics and Reports
  21. 21. December 2020 / Page 20marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Abnormal data consistency When analytics are TOO consistent, something is suspicious top 4 referring sites – exact same pattern Where to find this? Hourly analytics reports (e.g. Google Analytics, ad server reports) What to look for? If select parameters look too similar across multiple domains, that is suspicious (e.g. same pages/session, ultra low bounce rates, 99% Android visits). What to do? Identify the sites that exhibit abnormal consistency; investigate further andd turn them off.
  22. 22. December 2020 / Page 21marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Abnormal data consistency Sites with 100% “social traffic”, 100% Android, 100% same browser Where to find this? Your own ad server records or log files; also fraud detection data files with supporting details What to look for? Abnormal consistency like 100% Android, 100% same browser version, 100% of traffic is from Facebook, etc. What to do? These sites use these methods of cheating that are not typically caught by bot detection; decide whether you want to keep buying from them. Turn off in campaign interface.
  23. 23. December 2020 / Page 22marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Where do visitors click? Click patterns on desktop and mobile screens, vs bots
  24. 24. December 2020 / Page 23marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou FouAnalytics Site Analytics Media Analytics “see fou yourself” • alternative to Google Analytics • secure, hardened against attack • shows all details, no black box • innovated w/ practitioners • verify your own media/ads • secure, hardened against attack • shows details for decisioning • recommended optimizations for #publishers for #marketers
  25. 25. December 2020 / Page 24marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou
  26. 26. December 2020 / Page 25marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc. linkedin.com/in/augustinefou Dr. Augustine Fou – Digital Marketer Further Reading: https://www.forbes.com/sites/augustinefou https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/augustinefou http://www.slideshare.net/augustinefou/presentations