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According to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the first quarter of 2017 saw the highest ever earnings for digital advertising in the U.S. — netting over $19.6 billion dollars. This amount was a 23 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Facebook alone saw $9.16 billion in ad revenue in the second quarter of 2017. Jeff Green, CEO of The Trade Desk, which is the leading demand-side platform, noted that “programmatic advertising is expected to grow 31 percent in 2017”.

With great power, however, comes great responsibility — and for this industry, that responsibility is fraud.

Ad fraud is dominating the headlines and is one of the main topics of conversation among marketers and chief marketing officers alike. Concerns around fraud, transparency, and quality are abundant and the industry is pivoting to address them.

With Facebook recently admitting to “nearly as many fake or clone accounts as the U.S. population” along with allegations of Russian interference through the use of Facebook ads and fake Twitter accounts, fraud can no longer be swept under the rug. But Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only ones with a problem. The programmatic industry has been hit hard by allegations of fraud as well— with Pixalate estimating that “nearly 35 percent of programmatic ad impressions were fraudulent” in the first quarter of 2017.

Along with fraud comes worries of brand safety — Google and YouTube were hit hard this year with allegations of top-tier brands advertisements showing alongside ISIS and white nationalist videos. Careless agencies that don’t employ the proper blacklists can find their clients’ ads showing up on websites that could be deemed inappropriate or offensive by their target audience and be a major headache for those brands.

But all is not lost — in this three-part series, I’ll walk through the steps to identify the different types of ad and click fraud and what steps you can take to combat them, all steps to maintaining and upholding your brand’s reputation.

Have any specific questions on programmatic advertising? Contact Pasha Irshad directly, and come back next week for the second installation of this three-part series on ad fraud. 



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