Google to refund advertisers over fake traffic

Google has announced new measures to refund advertisers who have been defrauded by web traffic generated through bots.

The use of bots to provide fake impressions is so prevalent on the internet that some advertisers only receive $0.01 for every $1 of impressions they pay for, according to Dr Augustine Fou.

Google now says it has developed “sophisticated systems, including over 180 filters and detection algorithms to prevent invalid traffic from impacting clients”.

Using its DoubleClick Bid Manager exchange, the tech giant said it would refund up to 10% of total ad spending if the traffic was found to be fraudulent.

However, refunds would only apply to fake traffic which was spotted within 30 days of the advertiser’s monthly billing.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google would be opening a new programme to refund advertisers who had been delivered fraudulent traffic.

No figures are available on the fraud levels affecting Google and Facebook, but Dr Fou, who is an independent advertising fraud researcher, said that much of the fraud is getting too difficult to detect.

A trade paper released by the US Association of National Advertisers and WhiteOps claimed that fraudulent ad spending has dropped 10% in 2017, but could still reach $6.5bn (£4.81bn).

Advertising is Google’s main method of revenue generation and the company apologised earlier this year for ads which appeared next to extremist material.

According to OC&C, Google and Facebook are expected to rake in 71% of all digital advertising spend in the UK by 2020 – most of which leads to ads being placed online through automatic systems.


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