At $1.63 billion, digital ad-fraud in India hit 8.7 per cent of the global total.

According to market research firm techARC’s India digital ad-fraud market report, digital commerce contributed to more than half (51 per cent) of the total ad-fraud in India, followed by leisure and travel at 26 per cent; entertainment and gaming at 13 per cent; banking and finance at 8 per cent; healthcare and pharma at 1 per cent.

Digital fraud

“Digital ad-fraud is getting increased attention from the C-level leadership of evolved organisations, where it is no longer an agenda of a Chief Digital Officer or Chief Marketing Officer. Ad-fraud includes faking a user, faking a behaviour or faking a device,” said Faisal Kawoosa, founder & chief analyst, techARC.

Although app fraud contributes to over 85 per cent of the total digital ad-fraud, web platforms are more susceptible as digital teams in several organisations are primarily focussing on the app, leaving the web space vulnerable to fraud.

Also, there are several brand safety issues specifically emanating from web, like fake leads and keyword abuse, said the report. techARC projects a 23 per cent increase in digital ad-fraud in 2019 in domains of banking and fintech; entertainment and gaming (especially video-based); healthcare and pharma, where the focus is on acquiring new customers. Digital commerce will see fraud with respect to customer transactions and retention.

Impact on brand equity

“The impact of digital ad-fraud now goes beyond diminishing the returns on marketing spends and can jeopardise the entire digital transformation journey of organisations, hampering their brand equity, relevance and positioning, among other ramifications,” said Kawoosa.

The report said that there is a need for digital brands, as well as the traditional business mode marketers, to develop a comprehensive online-to-offline ad-fraud strategy as businesses continue to dilute their single channel positioning to omni-channel brands.

Businesses who have an ad-fraud solution in place are better equipped to have higher levels of customer engagements because they are able to contain abuse through their brand and serve only the most relevant things to their customers.