Display fraud makes search marketing less trustworthy

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
​New initiatives aim to bring credibility back to search marketing, as ads cost more but produce​ ​little to no views.

​Paid advertising has played an important role in search marketing this year. Marketers understand their strategies must include both custom content and paid search campaigns. When these channels work concurrently, lead generation and conversion opportunities increase significantly. In fact, Google revised search engine results pages (SERPs) around service-driven queries to surface transactional content like ads to request a quote from an auto mechanic. A Brafton article highlighted that SERPs feature as little as 13 percent organic content for​ ​some queries.

Changes to the paid search space are underway. Apparently, impression fraud has run rampant across the web, and marketers’ trust in the digital ad marketplace continues to decline as their display ads rarely generate the impressions promised to them by top-tier advertisers. The leaders of the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative are compelled to revamp how display ad agencies conduct business moving forward, calling for online publishers to prepare for “viewability” to emerge as the new currency in online advertising by end of year.

In an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) blog post, CEO and President of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Bob Liodice writes, “The Media Rating Council (MRC) expects to lift its Viewable Impression Advisory by the end of this year, and at that time marketers will eagerly start buying digital media on viewable metrics.”

What does this mean exactly? The paid search industry will transition from a served-impression standard to a viewable-impression standard, essentially returning money spent on the average 1.8 trillion display ads that are purchased annually, but never viewed by actual web consumers. Since 2011, the 3MS initiatives has addressed impression fraud in search marketing. The goal of recent developments is to create a more honest internet marketing industry.

Content marketing has become a powerful practice across the world, giving brands opportunities to build trust with prospects and establish credibility on the web. With the same level of scrutiny on the paid sector, the quality of online campaigns will only rise moving forward.

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