Ad Fraud Buzzwords Explained

Following our article on some of the industry buzzwords, we decided to touch the deep waters of Ad Fraud and do a special post explaining some of the most popular terms you’re just bound to meet. Given the fact this season online shopping is expected to reach another milestone and become one of the main channels for consumer engagement, being aware of the threats and means to overcome them is essential for businesses.

Ad Viewability

One of the biggest forever ongoing topic in the industry is not evolving around the question: “Who has seen my ad?” but on “Was my ad really seen?”. This puts the frame of the core problem - “false impressions”, or ads viewed by non-humans. The rapid expansion of the digital space brought up plenty of opportunities for advertisers but in the same time inspired new tricks to mimic human behaviour. After all, advertising can be a meaningful medium to connect with the audience only if you … well, connect with it. To fake this connection, a specific type of robotic actors were created. Known as “bots” they generate false traffic and lure advertisers into believing there is a real human engagement. Bots remain one of the top priorities across the online ad industry and a huge segment of the AdTech market is focused on developing technologies to tackle them. Although the debate and fight is ongoing, programmatic technologies provide more secure environment for the ad placement and more correct means to measure its viewability.


Ad Stacking

In some dictionaries you’ll find that ad stacking is when placing multiple ads on top of each other and only the top is visible. While also true, ad stacking has grown into including other misleading practices. It could be impressions concealed behind content, or ads displayed in tiny 1X1 pixel i-frames. Actually there are cases when whole website are stuffed into such non-viewable i-frames.


Cookie stuffing

It’s actually quite simple and not so sweet despite some associations the name might suggest. It all starts with the cookie. When a user visits for the first time a website that uses cookies, a cookie is downloaded into their computer. Cookies are not a programme, they are just text files that contain information on the website visited and the unique information about the user -  login details, preferences, shopping carts, etc. This information is later on used for targeted ads.  Now, the problem with the cookie stuffing is that third-party publishers drop multiple cookies into an website and hijack the transaction done on the page. So for example when you go on a website and click on an ad, for that click the third-party will be getting all the credit instead of the original publisher.