The Cricket Fever is Unstoppable!
From IPL to the World Cup, the audience goes all gaga to see their favorite teams playing. The advertising world also goes into a frenzy during this time and wants to capture the attention of the “Cricket Heads”. The pitch might be clear on the ground, but the pitch in the advertising world has hurdles at every step.
While the advertiser spends meticulously, the fraudsters also look forward to stealing their money and having a gala time. Over the years, these scamsters have evolved and adapted more advanced techniques to steal the advertiser’s money.
In this blog, we have covered some of the advanced techniques of ad fraud and brand safety threats happening across the gaming and betting industry which is most impacted during the major sports events.
Digital Threats During Sports Events
1. Rise in Fake Accounts
The IPL and World Cup season is much awaited in the advertising world as gaming/betting advertisers spend heavily to ensure they are part of the game. However, the advertisers are hardly able to make a sixer during this time as the scamsters are also ready to make them go clean bowled. They are the most active during this time and look for all the best opportunities to steal the ad spends of the advertisers. And one of their easy-to-execute techniques is using disposal email addresses and phone numbers to create fake accounts.
Here is an insight from an analysis done for a leading gaming app:
Based on the data extracted, mFilterIt detected sign-ups occurring from similar-looking email addresses in less than a minute interval. This activity was suspicious, and we detected the patterns to identify bot activity which was eventually impacting the performance of the gaming advertiser.
These disposable email addresses and numbers are also used by fraudsters to commit referral or coupon fraud which eventually hurts the brand’s image among loyal consumers. The brands run referral programs to bring in new users and retain loyal users. However, due to fraudsters’ involvement, these programs are often manipulated, and genuine users cannot use these benefits further blaming the brands.
2. Event Spoofing
Beyond the misuse of disposable email addresses and phone numbers, the fraudsters have another winning move that can help them win the cup (in this case advertisers’ ad spends). They use advanced fraud techniques like SDK spoofing to commit event spoofing.
In this case, the scamsters often manipulate the events like sign-ups to get their payout. The advertisers are under the impression that their apps are being downloaded by genuine users, but the reality tampers. The publisher receives their payout, but the advertiser neither gets the genuine audience nor the growth.
3. Use of Misleading Ads
The last season of IPL saw a massive surge in misleading and manipulated ads run by fraudulent affiliates/influencers to lure innocent users. ASCI flagged 285 real-money gaming ads on social media on the account of violation of the ASCI guidelines of March’22. Furthermore, 14 ads were found as violating ASCI during the IPL on both Television and OTT. This year, the government has become more stringent about the ads run by gaming and betting platforms. There has been a rise in cases where these platforms leverage news content or eCommerce promotions as a disguise for betting-related advertisements.
The game season is the best time for fraudsters to leverage the brand’s name to commit fraud and enjoy the benefits. Whereas the brands have to pay the price in the form of wasted ad budget and tarnished brand image resulting in loss of consumer trust.
4. Brand Reputation at Risk
Misleading ads by fraudulent affiliates are a real problem. Another behind-curtain fraudulent practice is where the brand’s ads run on illicit or adult websites.
An ad of a legitimate brand appearing beside obscene content is a brand safety nightmare. In this situation, often the consumers assume that the brands have placed their ad beside illicit content consciously and they are not concerned about their consumer’s safety. This leaves a deep impact on the brand’s reputation as the consumer questions the reliability of the brand.
5. Organic Traffic Stealing
Apart from misusing digital brand assets, these Sports events are also the “hattrick season” for fraudulent affiliates/publishers. During this time, usually, the brands put money on search advertisements introducing “exciting offers”. The fraudsters use this moment as an opportunity.
They bid on the brand’s keywords to appear above the “legitimate brand” in the search results and divert their organic traffic to their website resulting in organic traffic stealing. This also increases the bid prices of the brand keywords and the bhas have to pay more for their branded keywords.
Don’t Be ‘Clean Bowled’ this Season
Sporting events have been the “festival of joy” for fraudsters as advertisers spend heavily during this time. To safeguard the ad budgets and protect the brand reputation, the advertisers need an advanced solution to validate ad traffic and ensure that the ad is placed in a safe environment.
mFilterIt provides advertisers with this transparency to make efficient business decisions. With cutting-edge and innovative media validation solutions, advertisers can validate their ad traffic and eliminate invalid traffic to target only the audience that matters. It also helps the advertisers to ensure their ads are placed in a GARM-compliant environment and are protected from brand safety threats.
Take quick action to make the best out of these sporting events in 2023!