During this episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview Dr. Augustine Fou, who is an industry-recognized thought leader in digital strategy and integrated marketing, an ad fraud researcher and auditor for several companies and publishers around the world. He has 20 years of management consulting experience creating and optimizing marketing strategies across traditional and digital channels.

Fou shares the many myths and misconceptions that marketers have about ad fraud. We tackle some questions, such as, “If you have ad fraud detection, are you safe?” Or, “Shouldn’t I be immune if I’m only paying for performance?” We also discuss why don’t we hear more from industry trade groups.

Fou helps to define and categorize ad fraud. He walks us through the various ways that fraud occurs. He shares the limited capability of bot detection companies, which are just looking for invalid traffic (IVT), and how the algorithms are not tuned for anything else. Marketers need to know that whatever you are paying for (click, conversion, etc.) is the specific thing the “bad guys” are going to fake. Fou gives us some fantastic tips on how to combat the pervasive fraud throughout the industry. 

  • How we define ad fraud. (02:41)  
  • Categorization of fraud. (05:11) 
  • Limitations of bot-detection companies and quick ways to detect other types of fraud. (08:43)   
  • Dr. Fou’s thoughts on estimates of fraud occurring in the industry. (10:38) 
  • A discussion on “asymmetric warfare.” (13:21)  
  • Question 1: I’ve got fraud detection in place, am I not safe? (17:33) 
  • Question 2: I only pay for performance, so I must be immune to ad fraud. (21:39) 
  • An interesting study looking across 800 mobile exchanges. (22:46) 
  • An example: the Uber lawsuit. (23:49)  
  • The key lesson for marketers to know and examples of loopholes. (24:39)  
  • The importance of looking at your data and not relying on industry trades alone. (29:03) 
  • A discussion on certifications and accreditations. (30:37)  
  • The importance of auditing. (31:54) 
  • What are the multi-million dollar detection companies not seeing, and why? (35:05) 
  • What should marketers be doing to combat fraud? (40:54) 
  • What does the world look like without ad fraud? (44:39) 

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.