Increasingly sophisticated tactics from fraudsters will drive total global ad fraud losses to $42 billion this year, according to a new study by Juniper Research. This marks a 21 percent year-on-year increase from last year, and Juniper expects fraud to continue to grow rapidly, forecasting the money lost to ad fraud will reach $100 billion by 2023.
The report says the growth in ad fraud will be spurred in part by fraudsters shifting towards more advanced techniques, away from methods which are more resource heavy and less efficient. Juniper says bad actors are increasingly spoofing ad networks to falsify ad clicks and displayed ads, as opposed to running app install farms, which are more labour intensive.
Over-the-top (OTT) advertising inventory will be particularly vulnerable as supply grows. Junpier expects spending on OTT inventory to rise to $42 billion by 2023, from $28 billion in 2019. But the fragmentation of OTT services, alongside the lack of standardisation between these services, leaves OTT inventory open to attack according to the report, as this simplifies the process of spoofing ad networks via CCTVs.
Juniper’s report paints a very different picture to one released by White Ops and the ANA a few weeks ago, which forecast digital ad fraud losses of $5.8 billion this year – though White Ops’ report was measuring bot fraud specifically, and didn’t include search or paid social media campaigns.
And perhaps the most stark contrast between the two reports is in their outlook on how successful industry fraud prevention methods have been. The White Ops report claimed that for the first time, more fraud will be stopped this year than will succeed. Juniper’s study on the other hand claims that only $16 billion worth of potential ad fraud will be prevented, with $100 billion of advertisers’ money lost to successful fraud schemes.
Juniper attributes this to two factors. Firstly, as fraud techniques become more sophisticated, adoption of anti-fraud tech will become ever more important, yet many small advertisers are still slow on the uptake. At the same time, the study forecasts that the supply of digital ad inventory will grow faster than demand, leaving room for fraudsters to fill in the gaps.