This is the final article in our “Pharma and Digital Ad Fraud” series, which has considered a range of issues related to non-human website traffic, including bot creation, bot detection, and fraud prevention.
These days it’s hard not to be alarmed about digital ad fraud. Bots make up more than 50 percent of all web traffic. Digital ad fraud is predicted to cost $19 billion in 2018. Huge bot networks are readily available for rent, and bots convincingly masquerade as human.
Fortunately, advertisers, marketers, and technology companies are joining forces to improve the accountability of digital media. Here’s a quick look at what accountable media means for pharma marketers.
What is Accountable Media?
The term “accountable media” refers to digital media properties that verify the identity of the individuals who view their ads. Ad verification, which uses technology to ensure that ads reach your intended sites and target audience, is a subset of this.
Organizations like the International Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council (MRC) are actively working to establish and enforce ad verification standards. For instance, the IAB has defined ad verification guidelines, while the Media Rating Council (MRC) accredits ad verification services.
Ad verification is essential to improving the accountability of digital media, but in pharma, it’s just the first step. Audience identity management technology takes media accountability to the next level by reporting the name, NPI number, medical specialty, and browsing behavior of the opted-in, tagged HCPs who view your ads.
Digital ad fraud is expected to cost $19 billion in 2018.
Website Audience Identification
If you’ve been following this blog series, you know that asking your ad exchange for viewability reports isn’t enough to prevent digital ad fraud. It’s simply too easy to hide bot traffic in aggregated analytics. Instead, you need to demand detailed, third-party measurement.
Third-party measurement starts with ad verification, which is available from many qualified vendors. (Our recent Pharma Innovator, Rich Murphy, senior vice president at BPA Worldwide, described some of the available options.) The next step is requiring ad exchanges to authenticate their HCP audiences.
When digital media properties install audience identity management technology, they can tell you exactly which HCPs view your ads. They can report who actually clicked through, as well as when and where each one clicked.
These details are essential to understanding the effectiveness of your ads throughout the funnel. After all, pharma marketers aren’t targeting an aggregation of “eyeballs.” You’re targeting a very precise segment of physicians, and you need to be certain those doctors see the right content from you.
You can also extend the principle of accountability to email marketing. Most email lists aren’t authenticated, which means you have no guarantee that your messages will be delivered to any real addresses, let alone your target physicians. To ensure deliverability, you should choose a physician email list provider that obtains email addresses from first-party sources and then validates each one of them.
When you purchase ad space and email lists from companies that strive for greater transparency and accountability, you reduce the risk of digital fraud and ensure your marketing dollars are well spent.