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Digital advertising is on pace for a record year in China, with eMarketer forecasting the country’s advertisers will spend more than $27 billion on formats like display and video in 2016. Yet even as digital ad spending continues to grow, concerns from advertisers about fraudulent activity may place limits on further gains.
According to a September 2016 white paper by AdMaster on the state of anti-fraud efforts in China, large percentages of digital display ad impressions measured on sites in its network in May 2016 were fraudulent. AdMaster found that more than 40% of digital display ad impressions on “vertical-focused” websites were never actually seen by a human, while another third of ad impressions on demand-side platforms (DSPs) and ad network sites were bogus as well.
Additional data from AdMaster provides more insight into the types of fraud causing the most problems for advertisers. For example, digital video ads were another key source of fraudulent activity, AdMaster found. Ad placements appearing in the wrong title was the most common type of digital video ad fraud, impacting 13% of impressions studied, while ads that simply did not appear (8% of impressions) was the second most common fraud type.
Ad fraud is not new in China. There are growing problems with “bad bots” impacting China’s mobile web traffic. In order to combat such problems, digital advertisers will need to be more vigilant about monitoring ad networks and working with third-parties to help ensure the validity of their Chinese-market performance data. But accomplishing this in the country’s publisher-driven environment will likely be challenging.
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