The con game that is online advertising took another hit last week as a report surfaced about the cluelessness of big online advertisers.
According to a report by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)...
"The vast majority of the biggest national advertisers either are only vaguely familiar with or are completely ignorant about the role so-called “sourced traffic” is playing in their digital media buys,"Sourced traffic" is a misleading, polite term for third-party crap an online publisher buys to pretend he's delivering what an advertiser has paid for.
Here's how the swindle works. You want to reach left-handed dry cleaners who like cheese. So you make an online ad buy because it's so amazingly good at "precision targeting." Your media buyer, or more likely, a software program, buys ad space for you on a website (or more likely a network of 10,000 websites) where left-handed dry cleaners who like cheese are supposedly thick on the ground.
The only problem is you paid for 100,000 impressions and the site can only deliver 50,000. So what do they do? They go out to people who "broker traffic" to send them the remaining 50,000 impressions. And there ain't a cheese-eating left-handed dry cleaner in the lot. In fact, in many cases, there aren't too many human beings in the lot.
According to an article in MediaPost...
"The ANA... has been issuing warnings and updates on the practice, which involves publishers acquiring audiences from other third parties and representing it as their own to fulfill commitments to advertisers, because it frequently is a source of fraudulent or non-human traffic generated by bots and other insidious and unsavory practices."Huh? Insidious and unsavory practices? On line? Get outta here...
According the ANA
“...sourced traffic results in an alarmingly high level of digital ad fraud in the form of non-human traffic..."A report by the ANA last year claimed that more than half the traffic from publishers who used "sourced traffic" was fraudulent.
The amusing part of all this is how the marketing geniuses in the world's largest corporations don't have a clue how deeply and vigorously they're being penetrated.
According to MediaPost...
The study found that nearly two-thirds of major advertisers were “only slightly familiar with -- or completely unaware of -- the concept of sourced traffic...”As I've said so many times, the abysmal ignorance among online advertisers is truly thrilling to behold.
- They don't know what they're buying
- They don't know who they're buying it from
- They don't know what they're getting
- They don't know how much they're paying
According to a report by Kalkis Research entitled, The End Of The Online Advertising Bubble
"An experiment by the traffic quality verification startup Oxford BioChronometrics has shown that under certain circumstances, bot traffic generated by ads on Google, LinkedIn and Facebook may be as high as 90%. Bots can be highly evolved, emulating a human-like behavior, and virtually impossible to detect, rendering ad campaigns useless...
"The (advertising) industry has a huge incentive to downplay and hide the extent of ad fraud, as it’s very lucrative."And now for the final laugh. What's the solution to this outrageous bullshit? According to the article in MediaPost, the head of the ANA says...
...it is the job of media agencies to “educate clients."Yeah, that's it. Let's put Dracula in charge of the blood bank.