Ad Fraud and Emerging Technologies: Preparing for the Next Wave

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With every day bringing a new astonishing (and sometimes worrying) update from the world of AI, you can bet your advertising dollar that performance marketing hasn’t gone unchanged. The growth of AI and ML have brought new challenges and opportunities, reshaping the landscape of ad fraud detection and prevention. As an engineering and research-centric team, we’re committed to staying at the forefront of the ever-evolving battle. When bad actors leverage intelligent technology, we fight fire with fire. 

Technological impact on ad fraudsters

As AI/ML continues to advance, fraudsters are increasingly employing the technology to develop more sophisticated and elusive tactics. These technologies enable fraudsters to rapidly detect and adapt to detection methods, making it essential for us to continuously refine our approaches to combating ad fraud. AI can mimic real user behaviour, posing challenges for detection systems and allowing fraudsters to exploit vulnerabilities in the advertising ecosystem.

The problem, explains our Head of Analytics Research and Data Science Raigon Jolly, is cyclical…

“Ad Fraud is a cat-and-mouse game. One loop closed and recognised by a fraudster leaves an opportunity for the next to be discovered. AI systems help these fraudsters detect opportunities faster, and also help them realise when they are caught. They can then move on to the next, mimicking real user behaviour causing detection systems even more challenges.”

The threat of generative AI

While the full impact of generative AI remains to be seen, it poses a significant threat, particularly on the publisher side of the equation. Generative AI is incredibly efficient, meaning it could hugely speed up the process of creating fake websites, apps, and content, making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between genuine and fraudulent sources. Additionally, it has the potential to fuel the development of more sophisticated detection methods, further complicating our efforts to combat ad fraud.

More convincing fraud at a higher rate? That’s a worrying combination.

A rise in invalid traffic rates

Although it cannot be solely attributed to AI, we have observed a rise in invalid traffic rates in recent months. Traditional methods of ad fraud persist alongside emerging technologies, creating a complex and multifaceted threat landscape. As advertising becomes more expensive and privacy concerns grow, fraudsters are motivated to explore new tactics, leveraging AI technology to exploit vulnerabilities and evade detection. Time will tell what effects these advancements will have on client campaigns. 

Here’s Raigon again…

“The cost of digital advertising is rising at a huge rate, which is attractive to fraudsters looking for a big pay-out. We know for a fact that AI tools will help them speed up the process of creating new attack methods, as well as helping them exploit loopholes in browsers and devices.”

Staying ahead of the curve 

Despite these challenges, we remain committed to staying ahead of the curve and adapting our strategies to effectively combat ad fraud. The battle against ad fraud is ongoing, but with innovation and collaboration, we are confident in our ability to mitigate its impact and ensure a safer, more transparent digital advertising landscape.

The convergence of AI and ad fraud creates challenges and opportunities across our industry. By remaining vigilant and proactive, we can leverage emerging technologies to stay ahead of fraudsters and protect the interests of advertisers and consumers alike. At TrafficGuard, we are committed to leading the charge in the fight against ad fraud, ensuring a more secure and trustworthy digital advertising ecosystem for all.

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