Advertising fraud: Where does the buck stop? | Brand Equity
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Advertising fraud: Where does the buck stop? | Brand Equity



good evening ladies and gentlemen and I along with my esteemed panelists promised to make this very exciting and eclectic half-hour with a lot of controversial insights and of course views coming out of these gentlemen ad fraud just for the uninitiated for the audience watching this as well just you know to give you a summarized brief understanding of what it is is basically the type of scam where the perpetrator fools the advertiser into believing that they're paying for something worthwhile when it's actually quite worthless so this would really lead to BOTS fake traffic and all the other job wins up you're well aware of now having put that in context let me move on to the topic for today's discussion or rather debate which is while there is consensus globally that ad fraud exists and is a very big and growing menace who is ultimately responsible for the ad fraud now I don't want to get into the technical details of how it happens and who is responsible for it I am talking about within the ecosystem within the players who are all participating in this particular transaction how is you know who is really responsible for the ad fraud where does the buck stop and who takes ownership and for that I have you know representatives from different stakeholders whether it be clients on this panel or it be a digital agency or rather an agency immediate agency or for that matter enablers or publishers so gentlemen I hope you're good and you have your gloves on because I hope this is going to be a good fighting match but let me bring you on over there and I really want you to wear the hat of a publisher here and not of a client although you wear both and as wearing the Hat of a publisher would you say that you know the the entire ecosystem is thriving on on greed and vanity metrics and which is why you know for clients should take ownership of the fact that they drive these metrics and hence there is not only existence but thriving and growing of the fraud so you are you are right to an extent that this there is a fair amount of chasing of vanity metrics out there but let's step back a little I think it's important to understand that the entire digital environment digital advertising environment has been around for the last five to seven years really matured in India and I think there is a challenge in the market on awareness and I don't think too many CMOS today pay attention to ad fraud and the amount of leakage that it can cause so so I think before we really jump the gun and hang somebody out there as to what is who's responsible for it I haven't got that at all I'm I'm just warning up asking the questions rather you know their motivation took two – I don't think anybody's looking for a shortcut from a client perspective what clients want you know viral videos all clients want a viral video a grand number of crossing million and billions of views and shares we get press releases galore every day about you know this campaign has got so many views so many shares so I mean don't tell me they're not they're not chasing those so I think chasing matrix is different from saying that there is a leakage in terms of ad fraud I think I would be more worried about ad fraud when there is lack of awareness in the at the client and to say I've put in hundred rupees but that 100 rupees is actually only 50 rupees is going into a valuable campaign and 50 rupee is really getting leaked out and that leakage is not aware they're not aware of where the leakage is happening it's very nice you really sound like the Pope on this but let's hope for a more pointed view from in mobile you know large players tell me can you answer the question saying do you think that there is that they are driving this you know right by wrong motivation I think I just take an example say there's this company who got tough four billion funding now they got the funding on growth because they're in the growth market and in there's a growth market now they know this time is taking and in three years they need to burn this and and the pressure like you say right any CMO a CEO for next two to three years has to just grow it if it doesn't grow than the guys checked out in somebody else now obviously the real motivation is always money but this whole media flow that happens that you know you have to burn this money and you have to grow at that pace and you to set that record kind of incentivizes everybody in the channel to say that if you don't meet this metric this money is not coming to you and if it's not coming the businesses aren't happening I think that's driving this whole chain not that people are wanting to do this what it is being like if you're not doing it somebody else is doing and hence that money on the table is is is making everybody drool on it now again not everybody is doing really really bad because there're like companies who just do fraud right that's that's something that we need to weed out but once you do that the second part that comes in is these days advertisers are asking for really really tough kpi's they wanna pay very less but get the most out of it now that's the second part of choking that is causing because if you're not doing if somebody else is doing like I feel it would do it or somebody else we're doing and hence I think it's a combination of those things put together creates this behavioral thing that's that's Howard it put it boy do you agree with with what he has to say and you know what's your sense of the fact that because of this pressure that is created within the ecosystem which is basically you know each one is feeling the pressure every stakeholder how do you think digital agencies are currently conducting themselves is there a lot more to be desired from their behavior I think for cell I'll just second what what I what I hear is it's the way it works in the real world is that you know when you actually sit on an excel and you want some numbers finally final numbers to be achieved you start you know you start crunching numbers and Excel finally gives ups and gives you what you want right so you know so so the same way you know we know when a client decides to if you know at the board you know some metrics after we have to have to have been set out which at which the team has to achieve and so those metrics have to be achieved and and what and it really is basis the maturity of the of the client you know what stage of business they are at etc so I've seen journeys you know from see okay you know app install campaigns from cost per install to a cost per registration to a to a cost per engagement for X period of time to an hour cost per transaction and this fraud everywhere but you know and so this is on the client side and then of course a brief like this would comes to the agency you know friend heavy book so you know so they're just better experts in terms of raking numbers on Excel and you know and probably giving the output faster so not saying that but because you know that's the you know things flow like that so yeah so that's that's the real world and you know everything is actually starts from a client and what they are expecting and but it changes from the maturity level of the of the brand or the client I mean it's a we see some of the younger brands asking you know trying to do different things but you know more mature brands you know who have seen it all etc dealing with this very differently so that's where it is and then it also matters you know you know essentially there are statistics one moment it was it your digital plans really come down to three things either you're putting some money on the platform are you putting some money on on example of websites or there is some kind of a data play you know the banks in and and all of that so you know so it's where you know the larger fraud is actually around programmatic websites etc platforms are cheap or that way relatively safer and and data fraud is actually I spoke about it earlier also is a big one sure but very quickly more it you know who do you think the Box should stop at the brand owner or you know people are aiding the brand so I think you know there is for the larger platforms I mean Google Facebook geo I we have a certain responsibility towards because you know some way we know that you know it is you know if you're generating a X number of impressions that that's generating X number of clicks and that's generating X number of batches in terms of final twos actions etc and what's working what's not working it's and all of that so we should proactively go back and tell the brand that you know and probably suggest slightly with you know variations here and there because you know from our site is very important that our platform is top of the class and it is delivering the metrics even if the brand even though the client doesn't understand that we need to education there so I think that's geoduck definitely takes that responsibility you're saying the social media payments need to sorry you're saying the social media players need to take accountability of this the buck should stop there yeah the buck yeah the buck starts from the client but it shouldn't stop it should you know so again I'm telling you know so we can only suggest we can only of course having but just just to own the fact that the buck should stop here I think the buck should stop where it started so okay let me get in the other client which is Ravel you know are you first I owe you an can are you in agreement that the fact that today being a you know a CMO is is intense pressure and hence you might be guilty of you know choosing vanity metrics Oh first of all I think it's a very unfair panel you know just to add what they also mentioned in the beginning I would say we are basically client is where the buck will start he was pointing the same thing out here and if you look at the platforms I think platforms today whether it is social media platforms or big platforms like in mobi they have some responsibility towards the client in terms of making sure that they are able to deliver what my expected right today if I am going on up you know a big e-commerce platform doing some purchase it is the responsibility of that you know particular marketplace to ensure they deliver the value which I am you know swiping my card for right you can't go back to the client and say you know it was you wanted it at 600 rupees and the cost is 1200 so this is what you will get right so there is some responsibilities with the platform where I am going out and putting my banners on in terms of making sure the value is getting delivered let's say that you that you know he's servicing you he's the agency right is he incentivized depending on the amount of likes impressions shares that on and whatever else in that mix in that metrics he delivers to you he says incentive incentive ice or his his entire remuneration based on that so I think that that depends no no no don't get no no so so that depends on the objective of the client give me a generic answer so I would say you know in some so most cases I didn't look at most for an offline offline guy moving online maybe getting a like is you know it will give him a good high he'll say okay I've got a million likes but for a digital Advisor he knows the value of her like right so for a digitizer you understand so I think it is again I would you know they're a pseudo matrix obviously which is I would I wouldn't lie there are metrics that which is from clients it's it's not upfront on paper but when you're having these conversations there is always some bit of you know that is there is banter that okay while integrate X many likes X many engagements or or or comments on my campaign but times are moving that that's a lot of large change from what what we started off less is six seven years back and I think the conversation now has especially with the world digital atlases is not not just likes and comments and engagement anymore watching I think is evolved so it's it's about how what is the end goal that the campaign is really driving what's the business of the campaign you saying you're not remunerated by your deliverables today not totally on or not totally on likes and shares that's not the remuneration that we get are you terminated for conversions actual conversions yeah it depends on the campaign types you signing up for it we sign off for I mean it clearly yeah so it depends on the client right for an agency they would want to sign up a client for a like right if the client is educated enough coming back to this point if the client knows what they want client knows the capability of the medium they would go to the end result got it right tell me great so now tell me in the ecosystem large ecosystem let's just look at the Indian market how many sophisticated digital advertisers do we have who are actually following what you're saying you know and what he's also you know about pushing which is that they are not going for shares likes they're looking at the end goal the bigger picture all of that right how many in percentage how many advertisers are actually of that link so I think it would be 5050 if I agree but if you look at my value I think in terms of value I would imagine the big spenders today and maybe the back that the big spenders today know what they're doing it's the big spenders are also directly dealing with large platforms so the chances of a client dealing directly with a large platform reduces the amount of intermediate and therefore drops the amount of fraud that can happen to anything fundamentally this is a problem of people knowing or brands knowing that there is a problem if I'm not careful but where my ad shows how my head shows what are my matrix how am I going to track it is there any check and balance in the system and if you're tracking all of that the chances are that you will be hit with less at fault not zero less at four I just want to bring you in because you've just been our observer so you have to you know you have the advantage of being the last man to speak to give you a point of view so while we have we've seen a lot of mature advertisers now you know a cropping up and we've seen the fact that he's saying you know more and more people are much more vigilant and much more careful would you agree that the ecosystem is actually functioning like that I won't unfortunately you and let me let me start with a few points which I observed on the discussion is why should they be a vanity metrics and be performance why why not both is it is it too much to us for an advertiser spending millions of dollars saying give me vanity metrics and give me performance what's what's the problem in having both the thought that vanity metrics and we fake and we'll be fake is not necessarily true the point is that you can actually get both number one number two is I think anyone who's involved in the media pipe who's who's either a publisher on an agency or someone who's getting a PI of the media spend cannot be responsible for the buck to stop right because they have a vested interest the platforms will will be more more interested in ensuring that have a higher media share and a media spend rather than rather than trying to figure out of maturing the client of not doing things which are not in the interest of the client so I think a neutral independent validator enforcer is critical otherwise the the people who are responsible media would obviously prioritize media over everything else the third point which I want to do and again slightly controversial my sense is that advertisers have still not matured enough to start asking the right questions advertisers still end up assuming that fraud is only bought by traffic ID fraud is not about by traffic ID fraud now means also organic theft I can actually have sales which are fraudulent I can actually have leads which are fraud and I can actually have conversions which are fraudulent what that means is fraud has move to the level where someone can steal your organic traffic and show it as if they have done that advertising for you so what that means is you can actually get the best performance you can have a source which is giving you thousands of dollars of sales and orders right genuine sales and orders but guess what all of that can be fraud because that publisher or that source basically eat away your organic and packaged it to show it as an organic right what that means is that if the target stewards agency is measurement criteria stewards publishers is hey give me an ROI and you're good to go I can actually meet all otherwise and I can actually still do fraud so I think the definition for advertisers need to change it's not about only bad traffic even very good traffic can be really bad if it is good traffic you're probably being duped that's actually the scarier part because now you don't you can't just look at KPS and say if I'm getting my KPIs then how can that be wrong so my senses advertisers obviously need to be mature they need to understand these questions they need to understand good and bad traffic neutrality of of a platform to validate the the whole information and ensure that no one is taking the advisor for a right is I think something important and I think I can go ahead and take my stick my neck out and say I think the box top the buck stops with us Wow we can actually ensure that advertisers are configuring the right thing they're setting the right KPIs they're setting the right rules agencies publishers are ensuring that those are being met and if someone is not meeting the criteria then we should be able to flag that off because our interest is not the media spend our interest is ensuring the best interest for the earth I really want to know what all it has to say you agree that the buck stops with you I do not know whether I can you know confer on that because to detect fraud you need access to the data so that you can really say yes I think all the parties that are involved in this equation have a shared responsibility because everybody has some KPI to meet did you like it or not because that's how the business will run now everybody like if if somebody's doing you know fraud identification yes their job will be at on fraud identification now if they get incentive is towards more and more for identification they'll increase the threshold and you know there will be an error there also so each one get incentivize and appropriately we will add their share of the fraud part right whether you like it or not I'm not trying to pick on new versions generally saying it so it's it's largely a human thing but I feel it's a shared responsibility and if advertiser believes that yes they're willing to pay a little extra for the ROI they want to get and create this consortium which is a neutral consortium which works in the which defines the like we have data regulation it's the same thing we should define the add regulation right how how does an ad actually like add variability and all these things comes in branch safety through the third party right until those things are in place and if the platform showcases that they're respecting those regulations I think that can bring in a sanity into the whole system rather than saying that we're going to fight this corruption we actually do have room for one question one valid question if anybody does want to ask the set of panelists doesn't the buck really stop with her with the data oh no the one who owns the data and how he or how that entity manages that data whether it is for advertising purposes or their own in-house needs isn't it really supposed to stop with somebody who's sourcing and owning that data yeah I'll do the spider-man thing for you so like with bigger but the bigger power comes the bigger responsibilities so if we if so we definitely are in a way custodian of end-user data and I think that's a being that custodian you know it's an all responsibility which which comes in because that is you know we're you know the largest fraud of the future is going to be so I think so in that way the buck would stop you know with the data owner so because it's a responsibility yeah well you know I never started this debate or discussion thinking that we would have a conclusion it was you know set in stone that there would not be a conclusion but I mean kudos to you for taking responsibility and saying the buck stops at you at least we have you know some kind of conclusion for this debate maybe not the actual debate globally but on that note thank you very much I'm out of time thank you for this very very insightful debate and hopefully we'll see many more mature advertisers and agencies and enablers emerge from this market thank you very much [Applause]

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