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'Brands need to invest in anti-virus as ad fraud negatively impacts customer perceptions'

At the launch of the e4m-dentsu Advertising Report 2022, Dhiraj Gupta, Co-founder and CTO, mfilterit, spoke about the growing need for anti-virus in digital marketing

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 2, 2022 12:33 PM  | 3 min read
Dhiraj Gupta

The unveiling of the ‘dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising in India 2022’ report saw Exchange4Media host a number of industry veterans and business heads for various group discussions. The experts engaged in sessions to cater to the digital audience and examined some of the key findings of the report and developments across A&M segments. Dhiraj Gupta, Co-founder and CTO, mfilterit, spoke about the vital need for anti-virus in digital marketing as his company offers solutions to ad-fraud detection and prevention.

Addressing the growing digital transformation of India, Gupta said it was essential for brands to understand the necessary precautions that needed to be taken while investing in this transformation, given that there are a number of bad actors who could compromise data and processes. “When it comes to our desktops and laptops, we don’t think twice about having an anti-virus, as it’s become almost mandatory in our digital worlds as we do transactions, make payments, and more. However, interestingly, as advertisers we make our budgets and plans for campaigns, we assume this same digital ecosystem is clean, without malware or bots."

He pointed out it's a conundrum as we keep seeing scams happen online and are aware of fake websites even as advertisers assume that the time and money they spend on digital marketing is reaching the right audience on the right channels and giving a complete ROI to what they're spending on. He said this is a myth that needs to be busted. "If you're spending on digital marketing, you should be aware of how and where your is being spent otherwise you'll fall prey to the same malwares that can spoil your computers", he noted.

Speaking about the increasing use of AI and the change it was bringing about, Gupta said we're increasingly interacting with bots, whether it's chatbots for customer service, or an Alexa device or most other digital interactions. "Bots now comprise the largest percentage of traffic online. Machines have taken over digital marketing in a sense, sort of like those in the Terminator franchise. Machine-driven traffic is far more than human-driven traffic online," said Gupta referring to various reports which stated bots drove up to two-thirds of website traffic. "So these bots will go on websites and they will trigger ads that you are paying for, which means that your ads are being seen by machines and are not benefiting from human interaction."

"In terms of ease of doing fraud and payout potential, ad fraud is the best type to do. When it comes to effort and risk it is amazing for fraudsters. One can easily get into digital marketing and the risk is minimal as ad fraud is not illegal anywhere in the world. The payout can net fraudsters millions of dollars," Gupta said, adding that ad fraud can exist across any kind of digital marketing platform and useless bot traffic can negatively impact ROI on campaigns by significant margins. He noted saying this is why investing in anti-virus could help plug the hole in advertising budgets by up to 20-25%.

"Customers are also becoming increasingly tech-savvy and they can recognize where and how brands are spending their money in advertising and if they realise you're not taking precautions this can negatively impact the PR and value of your brand," said Gupta.

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