Aishwarya Ramesh

Worrying levels of digital ad fraud demand solutions

MMA's panel discussion on driving accountability in mobile advertising addressed the prevalence of ad fraud...

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) held the final Mumbai edition of its three-city roadshow series on ad fraud at the ITC Maratha. The MMA is a global body that focusses on ad fraud and has subsequently launched a global ad fraud council with local chapters. The first session was held in Delhi on March 13 followed by Bengaluru on 27 March.

Moneka Khurana, country head, MMA India, kicked off the day with a short note on the formal definition of ad fraud. "As per the MMA India Ad Fraud Survey conducted, the top two challenges faced by marketers in mobile advertising are mobile ad fraud and brand safety. The MMA is enabling marketers through the roadshows to learn about brand safety and combat ad fraud which is slated to rise by 40 per cent in 2019," she explained.

Worrying levels of digital ad fraud demand solutions

From left to right, Gaurav Khera, Deepak Tahiliani, Jahid Ahmed, Mohit Kapoor, Rohit Chatter, Vipul Kedia (Click on the image to enlarge)

"E-commerce, finance, gaming, travel, and food are the top five sectors affected by ad fraud in India," Khurana emphasised in her welcome note. She also outlined the MMA's plan to "A.C.T." against ad fraud - Assess, Combat and Track.

Asses - Help marketers understand their exposure to fraud and the various types that exist.

Combat - Provide education about various types of fraud and ways of tackling it.

Track - Track the impact of their efforts and work with agency and verification partners to fight ad fraud.

Misrepresentation, traffic fraud and viewability are the top challenges faced by marketers.

According to Khurana, 22 per cent of mobile ad spends is subject to ad fraud. So far, 50 per cent of marketers are using third-party tools to fight ad fraud and more said they would do so in the future.

The first panel of the day was on the topic of driving accountability in mobile advertising. The panel consisted of Deepak Tahiliani, head of digital trading at GroupM India, Jahid Ahmed, head of digital and content marketing at HDFC Bank, Mohit Kapoor, VP group alliances and advertising at Reliance Jio, Rohit Chatter, CTO Enterprise Platforms, InMobi, and Vipul Kedia, the chief data and platforms officer at Affle.

The session was moderated by Gaurav Khera, director of digital risk advisory, Deloitte India. He began the discussion by pointing out that mobiles have become an integral part of our lives. He used this to talk about the expectation that spending on ads in the mobile sector was expected to surpass overall ad spending in the digital medium in the next year.

GroupM's Deepak Tahilani, the practice lead for brand safety, kick-started the discussion with some insight on adex spending. "We've seen digital adex increasing in the last five years from 8 per cent of the media mix to almost 20 per cent. A majority of the traffic for content is through mobile and there is a sudden increase in the interest from fraudsters too," he pointed out. Tahilani also mentioned that he's largely seen it on the programmatic advertising side of the business and emphasised on the need for brands to step up their game in terms of staying ahead of those who might commit ad fraud.

HDFC Bank's Jahid Ahmed took the discussion further pointing out that there were cases when even after a consumer made a purchase online they would receive ads for the same products. He emphasised on the fact that this would annoy a consumer and ultimately, drive them away.

Ahmed tossed in a few more statistics saying, "Overall digital ad spend in India is about $2 billion and it's growing at around 30 per cent. The industry states that the amount that gets wasted in fraud is $1.6 billion. Only 20 per cent of what you're spending on ads is creating an impact and that's the number we need to focus on. People may not be aware of it right now and, therefore, they're not questioning you; but the day they start, you're going to be in the soup."

Worrying levels of digital ad fraud demand solutions
Worrying levels of digital ad fraud demand solutions
Worrying levels of digital ad fraud demand solutions
Worrying levels of digital ad fraud demand solutions

Click on the images to enlarge

Vipul Kedia joined the discussion by informing the audience that one of the most effective ways to combat ad fraud was to bring in data transparency.

The moderator pointed out that data was the new oil and then brought in Reliance Jio's Mohit Kapoor who stated that the biggest fraud in marketing was coming from the consumer data angle.

InMobi's Rohit Chatter agreed, pointing out that some companies hesitated to store data on the cloud because there were apprehensions about security. He also said that a combination of user data and data from companies, if shared, could help build a comprehensive consumer profile which could help effectively battle ad fraud.

Kedia then brought the discussion toward the main theme of accountability when he said that to prevent ad fraud, accountability must rest in the hands of the person/body that sends and receives data and they must treat it with a clear purpose.

Kapoor further pointed out that data must be viewed from the user perspective. He also agreed with Ahmed saying that ad fraud sometimes misuses consumer data to retarget the same individual.

So who is to be held accountable for ad fraud...? The discussion will continue...

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