The rise of programmatic media has brought great gains in targeting, whilst also increasing the risk of online ad fraud. The issue is costing marketers billions a year, though the steps being taken by the most highly engaged advertisers show that it can be reduced dramatically. There are many ways to help tackle the issue, with third party verification being top of the agenda.


Online ad fraud is defined as the deliberate practice of attempting to serve ads that have no potential to be viewed by a human user. It is often associated with 'bots', which mimic human activity. Ad fraud is driven by those who set out to deceive, by creating their own websites and using fake audiences to attract advertisers or by charging legitimate publishers to direct invalid traffic to their sites.

Key insights

1. Digital bot fraud is in decline but remains a worry for advertisers

According to a 2018 survey of marketers by the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA), 60% of respondents had experienced a negative outcome in their digital marketing. However, only 13% of marketers said their brands had been affected by ad fraud. Nonetheless 53% considered non-human traffic to be a key concern in the next year, up from 39% last year.