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Digital Ad Fraud to Reach $120 Billion in 2022

Digital marketing has tremendous upsides. It’s also a corrupt mess…

By Paul Marszalek

In a report released this week, the Association of National Advertisers estimated that digital marketing fraud would reach $120 billion, up from an estimated $99 billion in 2021.

Almost impossible to imagine, this means that bad actors are siphoning off $120 billion in digital advertising, directing ads to websites and feeds on which the ads were never supposed to appear. Often these sites support conspiracy theorists, foreign propaganda, misinformation and disinformation, and generally, the worst of the web.

It’s akin to buying a flight of underwriting on KQED, and then finding out that a bunch of those spots were actually redirected to run on some local knucklehead AM talk show in Kentucky.

Source: Association of National Advertisers

Ad industry expert and pundit Bob Hoffman noted that this revenue makes ad fraud a bigger business than Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Pepsico, Nike, and more. In fact, ad fraud would be the 27th largest company in the U.S., just in front of, ironically enough, Meta.

Hoffman believes that ad fraud may be the largest fraud the world has ever seen.

When advertising trade groups are admitting to behavior like this, alongside all the ramifications it has for brand safety, this narrative should be working its way into your sales pitch.

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