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Ad Fraud = Stop Spending or Start Learning

The ad fraud market is expected to reach $16.4 billion dollars by the end of 2017.

The issue remains one of the largest concerns for digital marketers and puts a stigma towards placing an ad in the digital spectrum. Of course, the direction that digital media is heading looks promising. By 2020, digital advertising spend will outpace television with more sales coming from mobile.

Using C3 Metrics allows you to see when fraud is happening. Our ability to see the inner workings of digital ad spend can help you tackle the monster under your bed. By utilizing real-time strategies such as C3 Metrics, you have the ability to take back and control what many advertisers fear they cannot.
Ad agencies (not necessarily the good ones) have fallen to this monster. The fear should not be in ad fraud, the fear should be in doing the right thing to help combat it.

Want to learn more?

C3 Metrics is on its first nationwide tour, Attribution After Dark: a nationwide tour of industry experts addressing key topics and challenges which impact marketers, including programmatic fraud, cross-channel measurement, and attribution.

Our Chicago event will feature a networking hour, panel discussion, and after party, all located at theWit — boldly located n the heart of the city’s theater, arts, and shopping district. Get ready to talk everything attribution while taking in city views & networking with industry leaders.

For more information please visit Attribution After Dark and see where C3 Metrics can help.

Jeff Greenfield at the IEN Marketing Analytics Summit

Last week our very own COO, Jeff Greenfield sat as a panel moderator for the IEN Marketing Analytics Summit at 3 West Club in New York where experts discussed the power and pitfalls of specific advanced metrics, such as multi-touch attribution, customer lifetime value, and more.

The two-day event touched upon the Who, What, and How of attribution and digital marketing:

  • Insight into the algorithms behind advanced attribution platforms
  • Practitioners’ Roundtable: Hear directly from your peers about their metrics/analytics strategies. What have they learned along the way? What tangible benefits have they seen?
  • Reading the metrics tealeaves—forecasting with analytics 
  • How to prove that marketing is an investment, rather than just another cost center
  • Which attribution model is right for you?
  • How to integrate new technologies into your existing business infrastructure 
  • Tech showcase: Explore and compare your vendor options 
  • “Vanity Metrics”—when they can be useful and when they can’t 
  • Organizational alignment: breaking down the data silos across your business
  • Customer Lifetime Value—the most powerful metric of all? 
  • The benefits of using both attribution and media mix modeling 
  • Breaking down communication barriers: how marketers are successfully presenting to the c-suite 
  • Getting different data sets to talk to each other: using metrics to ensure consistency across brands, platforms, and channels
  • What metrics can and can’t do—understanding the limitations 
  • A crash course on regulations and privacy laws—current and predictions for the future
  • The role of marketing automation and machine learning in analytics 
  • Learn what questions to ask up front in order to avoid mistrust and transparency issues with service and software vendors
  • Addressing the talent gap—how diversity on your marketing team leads to innovation
  • Funnel or hourglass? The new shape of the customer journey and what it means for marketers


Getting Beyond “Last Click” with Advanced Attribution Models

· Tips for overcoming common challenges surrounding cross-channel attribution, particularly with mobile
· Predictions for the future, and what this means for companies
· Using control groups in combination with attribution modeling to better measure direct marketing effectiveness
· In-house vs. outsourcing—which approach is right for businesses
· What questions you should be asking before committing to a new service or technology provider

C3 Metrics is providing our own nationwide summit!

Learn more:

Attribution After Dark Chicago

Attribution After Dark, presented by C3 Metrics, is the only nationwide tour of top advertising experts addressing challenges which impact marketers on a daily basis.
Key topics include programmatic fraud, cross-channel measurement, connection online media to offline sales and multi-touch attribution.
Our event in Chicago is proudly hosted at theWit and provides a follow-up after-party including an open bar, food, networking in one of the hottest spots in the city.

 

Programmatic Ad-Fraud = The C3 Metrics Solution

Programmatic fraud plagues the digital advertising world.

With major ad-fraud becoming more and more prevalent, what will advertisers do to make sure they aren’t spending in the wrong places?

As we have explained previously, fraudsters are everywhere. Programmatic drug lords target all available outlets in order to manipulate your advertising efforts.  Extreme efforts have been able to rob advertisers of up to $180 million dollars and the process has only grown.

Programmatic fraud occurs between midnight and 6 am. The culprits know this because you don’t.  They know that most advertisers rely on daily metrics, not hours and can manipulate the data based on that large gap in knowledge.

Video

Video remains the largest target for fraudsters. Publishers prefer to bill on impressions because it is an inventory based product, rather than a performance based product. Those who seek to falsify clicks have a field day with this method due to the ease of which clicks can be generated.

You, as an advertiser, have the ability to stop this from happening. The ability to see ad performance is critical if you want to stay on top of your game (and keep your job).

Using C3 Metrics allows you to see when fraud is happening. Our ability to see the inner workings of digital ad spend can help you tackle the monster under your bed. By utilizing real-time strategies such as C3 Metrics, you have the ability to take back and control what many advertisers fear they cannot.
Ad agencies (not necessarily the good ones) have fallen to this monster. The fear should not be in ad fraud, the fear should be in doing the right thing to help combat it.

Want to learn more?

C3 Metrics is on its first nationwide tour, Attribution After Dark: a nationwide tour of industry experts addressing key topics and challenges which impact marketers, including programmatic fraud, cross-channel measurement, and attribution.

Our Chicago event will feature a networking hour, panel discussion, and after party, all located at theWit — boldly located n the heart of the city’s theater, arts, and shopping district. Get ready to talk everything attribution while taking in city views & networking with industry leaders.

For more information please visit Attribution After Dark and see where C3 Metrics can help.

 

Truth In The Age Of Fraud

The road in front of 2017 will be a long one, but anything rising from the scorched earth policy of 2016 will be positive. Let’s cut the losses and move towards the future.

Advertising has some pretty critical challenges to face. Fake news is on the rise (which dilutes the credibility of digital advertising). With reports stating “fake news” helped rig an election only creates hostility and doubt, the next move is to focus on reliability while creating a shorter and concise ad.

Creative agencies are scrambling in a time of separation to prove to consumers that their brand can be trustworthy while maintaining a pitch that’s short enough to maintain their awareness.

“Trust” is the word to focus on. With that word in mind, advertisers can effectively bridge the gap between brand and consumer.

On the other side of the coin, advertisers need to be aware of the effectiveness of their digital advertisements.

Television is simple. Advertisers pay for an ad to be aired at a specific time, and if it doesn’t air, you get your money back.

With digital, it is far more complicated.

Advertisers pay to have their ad seen by a targeted amount of people. Advertisers know the metrics on how many people presents the best conversion. If the rates are higher, it dilutes the process and they lose money. Ad fraud relies on fake clicks in order to make ads seem more productive.

If reach has somehow skyrocketed but yielded the same conversion rate, that’s an indicator of ad fraud. Congratulations, you’re out of a significant chunk of change.

The overall issues are evident. The solution for 2017 is to create a more truthful center point for brands and consumer via advertising as well as drilling down concise and effective marketing strategies that won’t leave advertisers overspending.

Facebook = Misinformation Hell?

Facebook made some pivotal changes to their site over the past year. One of the largest and most controversial changes that came up was the switch from their trending team over to an algorithm. Multiple reasons went into the shift, but one of the largest came from claims of presenting users with biased information.

Well, due to those claims, the trending team was let go and a robot came in to take their place. The algorithm worked effectively in using “trending” information to present to the public. Robots have a tendency to remove biases.

With the removal of a personal team, came the downfalls of pushing information out via programmatic. With the ability to simply purchase hits, anyone can just pay for attention. That means users can be more prone to reading something not necessarily considered “real news”.

With the issues of fake news a “trending topic”, many have tried to reach out to Facebook to strain out the bad seeds.

The problem is that Facebook relies on users to report the issue of false news. The results haven’t been too effective. In order to report articles, the process is a runaround.

Facebook raked in a whopping $5.2 billion dollars in annual ad revenue for 2016. How much of that advertising revenue came from people spamming fake news? Advertisers aren’t too keen on spending money only to be penalized for the prospect of a higher view-through rate.

So how much of that $5.2 billion dollars came from fake news?  We may find out shortly.

Attribution Modeling = 67% Error with This Massive Mistake

The biggest mistake you’ll make in attribution modeling?  There are many, but today this is a huge one:  No Cross-Device

Without cross-device tracking capability, you face a 67% error.  Today 67% of all funnels have multiple devices in the path.  It’s not uncommon to see mobile at the top of the funnel, creating demand, or in the middle of the funnel, accelerating demand.

If your attribution modeling solution doesn’t natively track and connect people across devices, you are simply screwed.  Your results:  67% wrong.

TV Advertiser?  No Cross-Device measurement and you’re doubly screwed.

When it comes to including TV in your attribution modeling platform–no cross-device and you might as well not even try.  Why?

Today, the primary response mechanism to a TV ad is on either a Smartphone or a tablet.  While sitting on the couch, your device is within arm’s reach, and after seeing a TV ad or offer that sparks interest, you simply use your mobile device to perform a search or visit their website directly.

Those smaller form factor devices = fast and handy, but with conversion rates of 2-3% on most sites, consumers hardly ever convert on a first visit.  67% of the time at least one more devices are involved.

The TV stimulus prompting mobile visits while on the couch:  those are typically top of funnel stimuli.

Draft Kings, Game of War, Zulilly, Adore Me, among many…spend huge TV dollars to stimulate prospective interest and originate demand.  No cross-device and the umbilical cord of tracking connection is severed.

How Good (or Bad) is Cross-Device Tracking?

There are two types of cross-device tracking:  deterministic and probabilistic.  One is not necessarily better that the other on the surface, but numbers tell the story.

Rule #1:  If anyone tells you their match rate is 100%, run.

With a huge enough sample, deterministic cross-device tracking can be fine.  But that sample has to be huge.  Even Facebook only has 52% of adults actively using the site.  Facebook plus Gmail plus Yahoo mail, plus Outlook–now that would be powerful if it existed.

But in most cases, we’re looking at probabilistic cross-device tracking.  Depending on what’s measured, the number of transactions per week, the length of the funnel in days and touchpoints, probabilistic matching percentages can vary.  But find yourself with a 75-85% match rate and that’s not bad.

Keep in mind that new devices are coming into the market every day (phones break, get stolen, and people simply buy new phones…especially around the holiday season).

Try to measure performance on your Facebook ad buy without cross-device native to your attribution modeling, and you might as well go home.  80% of activity on Facebook is from mobile devices.  The same numbers hold for Twitter and a large portion of Pinterest.

If cross-device isn’t natively built in (not bolted on) to your attribution modeling platform–you will be lost at sea.  No GPS, no ship, no bearing.  Ready for dry land?

Programmatic Drug Lords = What Is “True”?

Facebook as well as Google are responding to some backlash concerning their news platforms.  Both have been accused of promoting false stories in their feed.

Facebook made the switch to an algorithm in order combat accusations of bias through their “trending topics”. The algorithm found articles based on the number of people talking about certain topics. So far, the algorithm has had some bugs, but the reasons for it have reduced claims of bias. Unfortunately, the algorithm has picked up false articles as well as clickbait. The revelation came about through last week’s presidential election.

With many users sharing false reports, the program picked up on how fast they were trending and threw them out to the world as real news. With many users calling out the social media site for false reports, Facebook has taken initiatives to halt the false spread of information.

This year has taught tech watchers that incremental shifts yield outsized results, said Topher Burns, group director of product innovation at Deep Focus.

“There are many reasons for Facebook and Google to address this problem. First off, the signal itself is important: that platforms care about the type of content they popularize and are taking a stand. It’s also important from a long-term perspective. Facebook left this election cycle being seen as the place to find radicalization and propaganda, to fight with your friends and family. They’ve got to protect the value of their inventory by taking a firm stance on quality.”

There will always be false news. Such is the way of social media. The resulting issues disrupt the constant flow of information. With new avenues and mediums, ad-fraud will always have a way to stay ahead of the game.

Don’t Cheat On Halloween = Don’t Cheat On Attribution

In advertising, you want to put forth the most effort in attracting an audience. You slave to make sure that the ads you have placed are in a good visual spot and can be seen and interacted with by many.

On Halloween, you want to be the coolest and most original character during the costume contest. You want your time and effort to be noticed.

Costumes aren’t easy…well, for some. Most people put the effort in while those that don’t get forgotten about.

We all know that one kid who showed up at the party this weekend who said “Hell, I’ll just wing it”. He probably bought a Chewbacca mask and that was about it.

Imagine if he won the costume contest – not because he created the best and most thought out attire, but because he cheated.

You would be surprised to see a lot of that happening in attribution.

Ad fraud is everywhere.

1. Midnight to 6am
What happens at midnight?
The clock for publishers and Exchanges gets reset. And every day publishers and exchanges need to make money.

When does fraud occur? Midnight to 6am.

What changes? Effectively they say: I need to make money and I’ll take anything I can get. Midnight to 6am becomes the fraudsters playground.

But data you get as an advertiser or agency is by day (not by hour). Impressions, clicks, click-through-rate, cost, cost-per-click, cost per impression, etc. No hourly data comes your way. Thus with most systems, as an agency or brand…you’d never know what portion of your ad buy is being delivered at the most inopportune time. Not a clue.

Now, that guy dressed up as Pablo Escobar might be a sign that the game may be rigged, but he’s not the one to worry about. It’s that kid who didn’t put the effort in now getting the attention he doesn’t deserve. He’s cheating the contest and rigging the game in his favor.

Be cautious, Halloweeners, there might be one at your party.

Programmatic Druglords = Fraudulent Piggybanking (Steelhouse?)

CEO and Co-Founder of C3 Metrics, Mark Hughes

Steelhouse – a performance-based digital marketing vendor, has come under fire for fraudulent ads. In the recent days, Steelhouse and rival company Criteo, have been in court in regards to Steelhouse “piggy-backing” and hijacking digital ads that would have gone to Criteo.

The accusations against Steelhouse stated “counterfeited clicks to trick e-tailers into attributing sales to SteelHouse that should have been attributed to Criteo, other competitors and partners, or direct traffic.”

Steelhouse wrote a code that would target ads sited through Criteo, and bring them to an advertisement of their own. This event could have been easily avoided and recognized if Criteo used a more updated software.

“Unfortunately, the fraud that Steelhouse has been sued for is more common than 99% of what marketers will ever know,” said Co-Founder and CEO of C3 Metrics, Mark Hughes. “But if you’re using a single-source attribution platform with built-in not bolt-on fraud control, marketers discover the real, fraud-free metrics every day which is the norm for C3.”

According to the press release:

The majority of e-tailers use Last-Click Attribution to attribute credit to the corresponding source of traffic (e.g., search engines, direct traffic, online ads) and to assign credit among competing marketing vendors.

Last-Click Attribution is a web analytics model in which the source of the “last click” before a sale is given credit for the sale. Web analytics systems such as Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and IBM Coremetrics, among others, can track and measure attribution and marketing vendor performance in this manner.

The information is correct. Last Click is a completely outdated software and you should break-up with it. By using C3 Metrics, this company would have been able to look through their data for any and all given affiliate ads. They would have been able to see every hijacked ad and see that it was linking users to Steelhouse. If an advertisement received a click at 11:25 you will be able to see that the link redirected to a Steelhouse URL a minute later.

All of this culminates into the C3 Metrics process. Not only will you get a more effective tool to monitor the effectiveness of your ads, you also get an effective tool to spot fraudulent ads.

“Unfortunately, the fraud that Steelhouse has been sued for is more common than 99% of what marketers will ever know,” said Co-Founder and CEO of C3 Metrics, Mark Hughes. “But if you’re using a single-source attribution platform with built-in not bolt-on fraud control, marketers discover the real, fraud-free metrics every day which is the norm for C3.”