Sydney, Australia Despite 87% of Australian respondents saying that they support advertising measures among online content providers who offer free content, around 70% of Australian respondents are still unaware on how these online content providers generate their revenue despite being a ‘free service’ to customers, according to insights provided by market research company Ipsos during the latest IAB Australia MeasureUp conference.

The report leans heavily on facts relating to importance of transparency and control over data, stating that 81% of consumers stating they want ‘more control and choice’ over the collection and use of their personal information, and 46% stating they wanted companies to stop sharing their information with third parties without consent as a high priority.

Transparency on what data is collected and how it is used is the key driver to a high level of trust in providing personal information (43% ), however sound corporate values such as having a good corporate reputation (40%) and being ethical (39%) are nearly equally key trust drivers.

It also noted that customers who are loyal to certain brands are most likely to share their information out of brand trust. About 47% of respondents say that they are more comfortable about sharing their data, provided that brands need to be more upfront with how the data collected will be used.

In addition, 46% of respondents say that they are willing to share information to these online providers, provided they are the only data needed.

For specific instances, 38% feel comfortable sharing their purchase history with a brand online if requested, 34% feel comfortable sharing browsing history and 38% feel comfortable sharing personal details to online content providers such as email, phone, or address. 

For Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia, while it is great news that consumers are so supportive of an ad-funded model to these online content providers, the insights suggests the industry has some work to do.

“Trust with a digital brand, including openness to provide data, goes well beyond reading consent notices and extends across all their interactions with the brand online and offline. To ensure the strength and sustainability of the industry, we need to build on existing levels of trust, and respect consumer’s preferences for more transparency and more control in relation to how their data is used,” Le Roy stated.

While nearly all Australians think privacy of their information is important when choosing digital content and services, only 3 in 10 people feel their understanding of data protection and privacy rights is of a high standard. Ultimately 8 in 10 people want more control and choice over the collection of their personal information, while 69% care about their data privacy but don’t know what to do about it.

Digital ad fraud encompasses any activity that deliberately impedes the delivery of ads to an intended audience. Most commonly, fraudsters use bots or domain spoofing to falsely represent online advertisement impressions, clicks, and conversions. These techniques are continually evolving – most fraudsters can now effectively mimic human behavior, making it easy for them to avoid detection.

Pleasingly, overall global ad fraud declined slightly in 2020, according to Integral Ad Science’s most recent Media Quality Report. Unfortunately, the report also noted that countries in the APAC region continue to have some of the world’s worst ad fraud rates. For instance, Japan and Australia were the only countries worldwide that saw significant increases in ad fraud last year. For marketers, ad fraud remains a continuing bugbear, leading them to waste valuable digital advertising budget and miss important opportunities to connect with target audiences. So, what can they do to protect themselves?

Fighting ad fraud with online data collection platforms

The only way for brands to effectively fight fraud is to closely monitor their ads for any signs of suspicious activity. To do this, they need a way of viewing the internet from the perspective of their target audience, to basically see the internet through the eyes of their own consumers. Enter ethically sourced residential IP proxy networks. These networks enable marketers to openly surf the internet with complete transparency. In fact, they are already being used by thousands of global brands, including in the e-commerce, travel and financial services sectors – and, of course, by marketing agencies, too.

Every digital ad campaign is built around demographic targeting that is based on an individual’s online behavior. By using online points that match their target audience, marketers can test their ads and verify that they are being deployed correctly, rather than fraudulently.

But why can’t marketers simply use their own IP addresses to monitor ads? Regrettably, smart fraudsters can easily spot and identify non-consumer IP addresses originating from brands or data centers. When they know they are being monitored, they will quickly respond by showing brands false information, all the while covering their tracks, so they can continue their malicious activities undetected.

Gaining insight into the competition

In addition to employing residential IP proxy networks in the fight against fraudsters, there are two important ways in which marketers are harnessing this tool to gain unfiltered tactical insights. Firstly, using residential IP addresses to split user sessions allows marketers to accurately see all the ads that are competing for their specific target audience’s attention. This enables them to make smarter decisions when it comes to campaign planning.

Secondly, in many sectors, marketers who monitor the activities of competitor brands are now obliged to use residential IP proxy networks to see an accurate or realistic picture. This is because it’s becoming increasingly commonplace for brands to identify when they are being viewed by a possible competitor and to consequently serve them decoy content. This happens even though the web-information being viewed is publicly available and can be freely accessed by any other consumer around the world. This can have serious implications for marketing teams if, for instance, they are fed incorrect information about a competitor’s upcoming product launch, promotion, or other activation.

Globally, the use of digital advertising by brands is continuing to skyrocket, spurred on by consumer lifestyle changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to market intelligence provider Beroe Inc., global spend on digital marketing reached US$330-US$340b in 2020 – an annual growth rate of almost 13%. In this environment, revenue generation opportunities for ad fraudsters will only increase, so they won’t be disappearing anytime soon. As such, brands have no option but to take advantage of all technology at their disposal in the fight against ad fraud. Currently, leveraging residential IP proxy networks is by far the most effective tool to stop ad fraud at its core. Doing so will enable marketers to maximize their budgets by ensuring that their ads are seen by the right people, in the right places, and at the right times.

This article was written by Tamir Roter, APAC and EMEA VP of online data collection platform Bright Data.