Digital Ad Fraud 2019

Mobile and Video Remain Riskiest Channels

About This Report
Three in four leading publishers have implemented ads.txt, one of the most important recent developments in programmatic ad fraud mitigation.

Executive Summary

Digital advertising is a big business, with hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year. That money has long lured fraudsters to the space, and deceptive practices cost the advertising industry billions annually.

  • How big a problem is digital ad fraud? Overall estimates of fraud vary widely, but even the most conservative estimates put the money involved worldwide well into the billions annually. Recent estimates vary from $6.5 billion to as high as $19 billion, a range that points to the difficulty in measuring fraud’s true impact.
  • What types of digital advertising are most vulnerable to fraud? One rule of thumb is that fraudsters go where the money is. That’s true, but it’s not the whole story. They’re also attracted to new markets and technologies, such as connected TV, where verification firms haven’t yet developed robust detection algorithms and where the ad tech market is relatively immature.
  • What are marketers doing to protect themselves? Using a verification vendor is table stakes at this point, for advertisers and publishers alike. More companies are getting Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) certifications, implementing ads.txt, and evaluating their ad supply chains to eliminate avenues for fraud. But more can be done, and marketers will need to keep their eyes on the ball.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report summarizes recent trends in digital ad fraud and its mitigation, and it advises marketers on what they need to understand to keep their budgets reasonably safe.

KEY STAT: The adoption of ads.txt has been one of the most significant recent developments in programmatic ad fraud mitigation. According to measurement firm Pixalate, about three-quarters of leading programmatically enabled publishers have implemented ads.txt.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. The Problem
  3. The Solutions
  1. eMarketer Interviews
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  1. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Shailin Dhar
Method Media Intelligence
CEO and Co-Founder
Interviewed November 19, 2018
Sahil Gupta
Adobe Ad Cloud
Director, Global Partnerships
Interviewed January 17, 2019
Tamer Hassan
White Ops
Interviewed November 30, 2018
Mike Juhas
Digital Remedy
Executive Vice President, Client Services
Interviewed January 22, 2019
Amy King
Vice President, Product Marketing
Interviewed January 8, 2019
Mark Kopera
Oracle Data Cloud
Head of Product, Moat Analytics
Interviewed January 10, 2019
Stefano Vegnaduzzo
Integral Ad Science
Senior Vice President, Data Science
Interviewed January 9, 2019
Roy Rosenfeld
Vice President, Product Management
Interviewed December 4, 2018
Shani Rosenfelder
Head of Content and Mobile Insights
Interviewed January 23, 2019
Maor Sadra
Interviewed February 1, 2019
Grant Simmons
Head of Client Analytics
Interviewed January 15, 2019
Dorian Kim
Vice President, Retargeting and Programmatic Operations
Interviewed November 30, 2018
Nich Seo
Platforms Lead, Innovation
Interviewed January 16, 2019

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Nicole Perrin


Ross Benes
Lauren Fisher
Principal Analyst
Jillian Ryan
Principal Analyst
Tracy Tang
Senior Researcher

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