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Why marketers are ignoring Ad Fraud – It’s Finally Clicked.

Ad fraud why marketers seem to be ignoring the fraud in digital advertising

I’m guessing the majority of marketers I am networked with, probably have read what Bryon Sharp has to say, because when he says something, he backs it up with science. He is also the author of How Brands Grow – probably the most influential marketing text in the past few decades, I love his stuff!

I also follow author and speaker Bob Hoffman, he’s written 6 books about advertising and marketing including Ad Scam – “How online advertising gave birth to one of History’s greatest frauds and became a great threat to democracy”.  This morning they helped me answer a question I’ve been pondering for a long time.

For the past few years, I’ve been puzzled watching the discourse or lack thereof about online Ad fraud. I’ve wondered (until now) why – people working in ad agencies, with big brands, or in training/lecturing or any area of marketing communications, don’t seem to pay much attention to this very serious issue.

I’ve wondered why they keep enthusiastically spending on online advertising, or presenting/posting about successful online campaigns, or running training courses about “effective Facebook/Instagram advertising” “how to succeed with online advertising ”?

This has been bugging me, because I know so many agency people (I used to work in advertising), I know so many big brand people (I used to work for global brands), and these are not stupid people. I teach marketing and I’ve been trying to build a food brand from scratch (without a big brand budget) so I have lots of skin in lots of games.

But reading Bobs latest newsletter this morning and then seeing this article that Byron Sharp shared it clicked. It’s all about interests.

A marketer wants to keep his/her job, an ad agency wants to keep their clients. To do this they need to appear to be efficient – reaching large numbers of “the right” people, and reaching them inexpensively.  A brand owner’s interest is in selling their products or services profitably. Theoretically, these two goals would be aligned, but they are not necessarily so. The metrics generated by online advertising give marketers and ad agencies impressive-sounding numbers that they can wave in front of their CEOs or clients. “Look how many people we reached!” “We got an extra x thousand followers” “Look how many clicks we got!” “Look how low our CPMs are!”

As Bob says “Trying to tease out the effect of advertising on brand health from all the other business variables (price, product quality, sales force competence, operations, design, distribution, competitor activity, economic conditions, etc.) is a never-ending brain destroyer. Much easier to talk about nonsense metrics and not to look too close.” So it’s simply about interests or about what game you have skin in, depending on where your interests lie that is where you will look, that is what you will most likely shout about.

This seems to explain why millions of dollars are being wasted on online advertising and very few seem to want to talk about it.

It also explains why my brain feels destroyed! Would be interested in your views fellow marketers….?