With so much online fraud where will pharma money go?

KEY TAKEAWAY: According to Fierce Pharma “Outcome Health went into crisis communications mode after a Wall Street Journal article last week said the fast-growing pharma services company had misled its advertisers. Within hours, the company posted a letter to clients—on its website and social media—outlining in detail how it was addressing the problem”.  Just pile on the fraud!

If we are to believe an estimate by JPMorgan Chase, online ad fraud is out of control. They claim that this year it has more than doubled to $16.4 billion. Last year it was estimated to be $7.2 billion.  In addition, the ANA, who fully support the current contemptible system of online tracking that underpins the corrupt programmatic ad buying ecosystem, fell victim to its own venality this week when an ad of theirs embarrassingly appeared on big, bad Breitbart.

One reason digital reached this state is that it developed too quickly for its own good. It achieved the largest ad spend of any channel in record time.  Think of how much longer it took for the telephone, radio and TV just to get the devices into homes. Digital got there much faster, and with almost zero policing. Contrast that with another high-volume delivery system.

Ad Fraud Statistics

  • The ad fraud botnet “Chameleon” costs advertisers over $6 million a month (Spider.io, 2016)
  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Marketers lost $7.2 billion to digital ad fraud in 2016[/inlinetweet] (WhiteOps, 2016)
  • 1 in 5 ad-serving websites are visited exclusively by fraud bots (The Verge, 2017)
  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]For every $3 spent on digital ads, fraud takes $1[/inlinetweet] (Adage.com, 2015)
  • Levels of fraud are not constant throughout the year. Fraud is invited whenever and wherever digital advertising demand outstrips supply. (WhiteOps, 2017)
  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]US brands will lose $6.5 billion to ad fraud in 2017 [/inlinetweet](Marketing Week, 2017)
  • Display ads examined by Integral Ad Science found 8.3% of all impressions were fraudulent (Integral Ad Science, 2016)
  • Ads with a CPM greater than $10 experience 39% higher bot fraud than lower-valued inventory (ANA, 2016)

What’s a marketer to do?

1ne: Demand your agency place ads on sites that directly target your audience.

2wo: Stay away from programmatic advertising.

3hree: Improve and test creative as it’s the most important element in ANY advertising.

4our: Tie online ads directly to key metrics like time on site and bounce rate.

Fraud is an increasing problem, but pharma should not serve online ads like pizza makers announcing a new flavor of pizza.  Ads for pharma products have to personally resonate with your audience.  It’s time to challenge your agency NOW.