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How to Protect Your Campaigns Against Ad Fraud During Black Friday

Black Friday -- one of the biggest sales periods of the year -- is right around the corner. What was once an event occurring only one day out of the year in November has turned into a week-long period of huge shopping sales. 

In 2021 alone, 57% of Americans shopped online, spending an estimated $8.9 billion. For digital advertisers, Black Friday kicks off the holiday advertising season and presents huge opportunities to capitalize on higher-than-average online consumer spending. 

Months of campaign and budget planning lead up to this event. And fraudsters are lying in wait to follow its massive money trail. 

If you’re running Black Friday campaigns, you need to be aware of just how easily ad fraud can impact your ability to hit your targets. Here, we explore the data from Black Friday 2021 to see exactly how quick off the mark fraudsters are to annihilate your campaigns and your budgets.

Deep-dive into ad fraud on Black Friday 2021 -- and what you need to know in 2022 

As the 2022 holiday advertising season nears, Opticks took the opportunity to analyze how ad fraud activity affected traffic during Black Friday 2021. 

Spanning from one week before Black Friday (which fell on November 26th) until one week after, we tracked the data to identify any irregularities or anomalies throughout the period. 

In the graphic below, the darker line represents the presence of ad fraud as seen from the traffic of Opticks’ US-based clients. Evidently, there is a huge spike leading up to Black Friday, as well as on the day itself.

Graph showing the higher presence of ad fraud during Black Friday period - Opticks infographic

Here’s what this graph represents: 

  • As an advertiser, you most likely invest a huge amount of your ad budget during the week of Black Friday. You are not the only one, as traffic suppliers face a peak of demand to which they cannot always answer. If they receive enough real human traffic, everyone is happy and you have invested in valid traffic. But if they are lacking the right supply to meet advertisers’ demand, some partners compensate for the lack of human traffic by using fraudulent sources and fake traffic.
  • In other words, when there’s a decrease in the supply of good traffic (i.e. fewer people browsing), publishers often need to utilize more fraudulent sources to meet the demand. This explains why fraudulent traffic increases and is much higher than valid traffic. 
  • On the other hand, when there's a lot of good supply (a lot of people browsing), bad traffic diminishes -- yet still not on a proportional basis.

Plus, our data shows that just a few days later -- on Cyber Monday, November 29th, 2021 -- traffic returned to “normal” levels with ad fraud rates fluctuating alongside traffic.

This data goes to show just how dangerous Black Friday can be for advertisers who haven’t yet implemented an anti-ad fraud solution to prevent fraudsters from attacking their campaigns. 

Secure your campaigns against seasonal scammers with proactive ad fraud prevention 

Are you ready for Black Friday on November 25th, 2022? And, more importantly, are your campaigns protected against ad fraud?

Ad fraud is rife during Black Friday and beyond, which means that prevention solutions are particularly relevant during the holiday shopping season. Fraudsters expect traffic to increase -- and Black Friday provides them with the perfect conditions to steal more of your ad spend.

💡You may also like: How to Combat Seasonal Ad Fraud During the Holiday Season

For example, you might notice large spikes in unusual traffic on a “normal” day, but since Black Friday is a huge event that enjoys increased traffic due to expanded campaign parameters, these types of anomalies can easily go unnoticed. 

Here are just a few reasons to implement an anti-ad fraud solution before Black Friday arrives: 

  1. To protect your ad spend: Anti-ad fraud solutions prevent you from fraudsters siphoning off your budget by detecting and preventing tactics such as fraudulent redirects, bots, and click spamming
  2. To help you reach your targets: Ad fraud negatively skews campaign statistics and data -- for example, high click rates with low conversions -- which can often convince advertisers that their campaigns aren’t working and lead them to invest resources and efforts into unnecessary adjustments.  
  3. To protect your key KPIs: The combination of wasted ad spend, missed targets, and skewed analytics results in a hugely reduced return on investment (ROI). Our own data also shows that ad fraud can lead to an 11% reduction in return on ad spend (ROAS), and a 9% increase in customer acquisition cost (CAC).

As fraudsters also continue to improve their already sophisticated tactics, robust anti-fraud solutions like Opticks are the only technology that can effectively protect your campaigns during Black Friday -- and beyond.

Get the most out of this global event and save your campaigns from seasonal -- and non-seasonal -- scammers by getting in touch with Opticks today to schedule a free demo.