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Using Proxies for Ad Verification

Published: 2023-10-10

Written By Owen Crisp

If you've chosen to hire an advertising agency or marketing company, chances are they'll be following a strict ad verification policy to ensure that your budget for advertising is well spent. In this case, there's an important role proxies play in the verification and anti-fraud. In this post we'll be discussing some of the important roles proxies play in ensuring your advertisements reach the desired eyes.

Budget Well Spent?

As we move into the growing digital world, the total pairs of eyes available to view your products grows alongside it. As the internet becomes one of the biggest influences for people's lives, companies and advertisers are pumping in larger budgets into online advertisements. Unfortunately, the growth of online advertisement also sparks an increase in advertisement fraud. This means that businesses can be lured down an unknowing path where advertising funds invested into low quality ads that never reach the desired audience. This is very important to know, and questioning whether your ads are effective and cost efficient can save a headache down the line. It's essential to have ad verification for any business that advertises online, as it ensures that ads reach the target audience and protect the funds and a brand-safe environment. Ad fraud, in the online advertising context, is all about is the deception of advertising for financial gain. It involves creating fake activities like clicks, impressions, data events, or conversions through throw-away accounts or bots, essentially simulating traffic and activity on sites. This activity can be used as fake results, leading to large payments and promises only to be let down when results aren't what were initially expected.

Common Methods of Advertisement Fraud

For your information, here's some common methods of ad fraud and what to be aware of when verifying your advertisements:

<u>Impression Fraud</u> It displays the ad in a way that's registered by the system but goes unnoticed by human eyes. These ads might shrink down to just a pixel, being somewhat concealed concealed, positioned behind the main page, or could deviate from the expected display. This deceptive practice specifically aims at ad networks that calculate payments based on impressions (views) rather than clicks, exploiting the fact that the advertisement does technically register as true, but isn't seen by anyone. This can sometimes be known as "pixel stacking"; the practise of inserting an ad into a 1x1 pixel on a page so that the ad is not viewable by the human eye but is technically still on the page and registers as true and served. If you aren't familiar with the term of an "impression", this refers to each time someone sees and add. This is not a measure of how many actions were taken on an advertisement, more the amount of times someone did (or could potentially) see the ad.   <u>Click Fraud</u> Another common method of advertisement fraud, involving the use of automated bots and/or scripts to falsify the amount of times an ad is clicked. This can be clicks to any CTA (such a button, a hyperlink, or image etc). Bots are so prevalent on the web, that a 2017 study found that over 50% of all traffic is non human- with click fraud in the same year said to of been part of a $6.5B market. Being part of a click-fraud scheme can be highly detrimental to both business and advertising campaign, with detection softwares such as cloudflare or search engines using machine learning algorithms to detect non human activity and filter them out.

Defending The Budget

Armed with the knowledge of the attacks, it's time to bolster the defences. The process of auditing and verifying these ads spending the hard earned budget on is called "ad verification". This is the process of ensuring the ads you put out are meeting the set of criteria you specify- making sure your products meet the correct pairs of eyes. It's important to realise that ad verification ensures the advertisements are within the correct context and audience. Ad verification is judged from your parametres, such as geographical location, desired CTA's, or intended audience. Take an advert for am expensive alcohol brand for example; this would fit perfect on luxury online publishments but terrible on a kids gaming site.

This is where proxies can play an important role; more specifically residential proxies. Proxies can be used in browser to anonymously check the placement of the advertisement to see whether it matches that of the specification. The proxies can also be geolocated (sometimes down to state or even city location), and used as part of the verification process to check the advert appears in the specified global location. As residential proxies are from real residential devices, it's a perfect opportunity to use them as part of the verification process as they will appear no different than a regular user. Indistinguishable from regular users. no red flags are raised, and your verification process remains both discrete and effective. If you'd like to know more about the offerings we have in regards to residential proxies and ad verification, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can also browse the numerous providers we sell here.

Looking further down the line, it's clear that proxies can and will play an ever more important role in making sure your advertisement budget is put to good use; especially if you look to expand globally. The more eyes, the more potential sales, but it's vital to ensure they're the correct eyes for your product.

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