Say Goodbye To Advertising Fraud!

Anil Prabha

March 18, 2020

In the world of advertising, US$300 billion was spent on digital ads in 2019, and it seems advertising fraud amounted up to US$6 billion per year, on average. So, can blockchain really do anything about this?

We live in a world where advertising is becoming almost ubiquitous. It’s literally everywhere, and the digital age is making all of this possible. The biggest brands like Procter and Gamble spend amazing amounts on advertising that transcends all mediums, merging the old worlds of television and radio with digital advertising that covers almost every location on the planet. But there is one problem all brands are facing in this digital space, and its advertising fraud. According to reports, out of the US$300 billion spent on digital ads in 2019, fake clicks amounted up to US$6 billion per year. That truly is a staggering figure. Digital marketing has an advertising fraud problem that needs an urgent fix.

Is Blockchain The Answer?

MarketsandMarkets forecasts the Digital Marketing Software (DMS) market to grow from USD 37.5 billion in 2017 to USD 75.0 billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.9% during the forecast period. Its a real jungle out there, and companies that track advertising fraud, like MachineAdvertising, report that out of almost 150 million app downloads driven by advertising, almost 50% of them were fraudulent. This is where blockchain can come in to play and possibly save the day. Its digital ledger technology (DLT) can securely verify, store and selectively share data across multiple parties, the ensuring trust in the whole process. For digital advertisers, efforts are already underway to create blockchain-based registries of authenticated outlets. This can go a long way in eliminating dealings with click farms and fraudulent systems.

Adding AI Into The Mix

Once these registries achieve critical mass, smart contracts on a blockchain can test measures of impressions against the registry for authenticity. Blockchain system can store these verified measurements with a timestamp and securely share them through a digital dashboard. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will also play a huge role by scanning for anomalies, thereby creating an extra layer of protection against fraud, security vulnerabilities or errors. Smart contracts on this blockchain can also automatically determine payments based on these authenticated measurements too.

Betting Big On Blockchain

Toyota rolled out a blockchain solution recently to reduce fraud in its digital ad buying process, and it saw a 21 percent increase in visits to its website as a result. Companies such as Anheuser Busch Inbev, Kellog, Kimberly-Clark, Pfizer, Unilever, McDonalds, Nestle and Virgin Media have participated in blockchain pilot programs. We are still in the early days as none of these solutions cover the entire advertising ecosystem, so full visibility is still a long way away. Nonetheless, AI’s potential to automate much of the process of detecting fraud and maximizing trace-ability is getting there slowly, one step at a time.

Riding The Wave

There has never really been a better time for blockchain in the advertising space. It helps companies target the right audiences, prevents fraud, decentralizes e-commerce, disrupts influencer marketing by identifying authenticity and more importantly, reimagines the methods of collecting data. One great example is SaTT, which stands for Smart Advertising Transaction Token. It is a utility token that is based on the blockchain technology and allows for the exchange of advertising and audience payment. The SaTT is regulated by smart contracts and allows the listing of advertising offers while all the data is securely held on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s an evolution, and not really a revolution, and sometimes, that’s all you need in life.

Sources: MarketsandMarkets, Marketing Dive, AdAge, CoinDesk, MediaOcean and CoinTelegraph.

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About the author
Anil Prabha

Editor In Chief

Anil started his career in journalism all the way back in 2003. After traversing the sphere of editorial, corporate communications and advertising, he has now come full circle and is back in the world of journalism. He believes in the power of the written word, and its ability to enthrall, delight and inform the reader.

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