There are 2 types of companies in the world. Those who have never spent money advertising and those who have been a victim of advertising fraud.
So you’ve got your awesome new product online available to the masses..but nobody is biting yet. You think, well maybe I will buy a few ad slots on Facebook. Or perhaps I will buy a few keyword impressions from Google. Maybe there is another smaller Ad company your looking to use.
Welcome to the world of online advertising. We have all seen ads online and most of us have probably clicked on an advertisement at some point, whether we knew it or not. As you head down the path of actually spending some hard earned cash advertising, be aware that you are entering a brave new world of mystique and interest. Oh yea, also a whole lot of fraud.
According to the Association of National Advertisers, companies are expected to lose an estimated $7 billion dollars this year to advertising fraud. If the big guys can’t get this stuff right, how can you?
Below we will offer some simple tips to help you combat advertising fraud and get more for your ad dollar.
1. If it sounds to good to be true, it definitely is.
You’ve found a great new ad network or company that promises “high quality traffic” for pennies of what Google and Twitter charge. We assure you this is more than likely a scam. They will tell you they can guarantee a certain number of clicks or impressions each day. The reality is, these sites are either outright frauds or using very shady tactics to send traffic to your site. Sometimes they operate a bot network which “clicks” on your ads or they offer people free things in exchange for clicking. Either way, it’s not worth it.
To get a good idea of the going rates, have a look at the prices being asked for by Reddit, Twitter, BuySellAds or Google Ad-words. If the unknown ad network charges more than this, they better have a real good reason. Also if it is more than 25% cheaper, it’s a scam.
2. Understand what traffic you are buying
Similar to point #1, if the ad network cannot simply and easily explain to you where their impressions or clicks are coming from, it’s a guaranteed scam. Or at least it’s grey enough that you really don’t want your brand associated with it. Some traffic sources are obvious. For example Google Adwords are the little ads on the top when your using their Search Engine. BuySellAds simply connects you up with sites to show banners and such. Understand the source of traffic.
If users are rewarded in any way for clicking your ad (coins in a game, free stuff ,etc), don’t do it. While not advertising fraud exactly, from your point of view it is close. If their time is worth so little $$ that they are using these type of services, they won’t have enough money to buy your product (or they are way more concerned about playing their current mobile game). Either way, if you are unclear on how the advertising works, add the company directly. Assuming they have high quality, organic traffic they will explain what is going on.
3. Start slow and track your results!
Once you’ve made a decision where to start, We always recommend starting slow. Especially when using Adwords or something similar. Our recommendation is to start with a limit of 10% to 25% of your overall monthly budget. You can always up the budget (trust me, the ad networks make this very very easy). For standard banner ads, start with 1 or 2 banners on each site. This will give you a good indicator of your potential success rate.
Finally, you need to track your results. Concentrate on clicks, not impressions. Use impressions to click ratio to guide your effectiveness. Use clicks to determine the quality of the ad network, specifically the cost per click and how well these clicks are converting. Finally, and most importantly don’t rely on the ad networks built in analytics or metrics. Use a 3rd party tool to verify you are getting what they claim!
Combating online advertising fraud is a constant battle. Take your time and research before you pay any advertiser. Understand exactly what you are getting. Follow this simple advice and you will be well on your way to success.
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