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Why ad-fraud in retargeting campaigns is rising as we move towards the new normal?



Retargeting and Re-engagement campaigns have difference in intent, but face similar ad-fraud challenges.

Covid-19 brought the entire world to a pause.  At the same time, it also either forced or gave an opportunity to businesses to get into new areas.  In digital space as well, everything got to a standstill like the physical world.  However, digital was the first to resume as it had inherited properties of the new normal which included social distancing, less human interactions and a relatively sanitised and cleaned logistics chain. 

The resumption of businesses and fulfilment of sales meant brands going heavy on retargeting and re-engagement campaigns.  Obviously, brands had to tell their customers that they are open and, in many cases, selling new products and services.  For instance, Amazon started focusing on ‘essentials’ than ‘shopping’ items.  So did many other e-commerce players.  Yet, there was a new breed of digital players who started afresh selling ‘essentials’ or the traditional offline players onboarded the digital journey.  Many industry sectors like FMCG went digital and brands like Pepsi also forayed D2C or Direct-to-customer. 

In a typical retargeting / re-engagement ad-fraud, affiliates resort to organic hooking where they falsely attribute already motivated users to a retargeting campaign and take the credit.  They fire a volley of clicks and steal the attribution against a device ID, which is organically getting engaged with the campaign.  As the intent is genuine and high, the performance of such campaigns results very high. 

However, the pandemic situation paving way for the new normal is an extraordinary one.  Here, such campaigns are more susceptible to fraud.  The explanation for that is users are organically looking for such products and services via digital medium.  Not just the ones who are used to, but even novices are exploring digital means to buy groceries, medicines, baby food and other essentials.  So, while users are anyways moving towards digital to buy existing as well as new products and services, fraudsters in the ecosystem are keeping eyes and ears open to leverage from the situation.  They just need to poach organic users to attribute them falsely jacking up the performance results. 

Performance Marketing has taken precedence over Brand Marketing as marketers are looking for inorganic means to resume.  Within that, the first preference is for re-targeting and re-engagement so that transactions with the existing base are encouraged.  Remember, the cost of transaction with a new customer is always higher than the existing one.  So, as brands are looking at the sales graph to go up, they are also keeping a tight control on costs and inefficiencies.  

Keeping a check on ad-fraud in re-targeting and re-engagement campaigns is an all-time high priority for marketers.  Digital marketers have become front line business development warriors in this new normal against the supporting role they played in the pre-Covid19 era.  They need to reorient themselves and start thinking like astute business development folks where they not only focus on sales but also keep a deep view of the entire sales enablement process and partners. 

Retargeting is one of the most effective and efficient techniques available with the digital marketers to maximise the merchandise value and take the average transaction value up per active customers.  At the same time re-engagement can attract the inactive customers, thus adding to the funnel.  However, there has to be a comprehensive and real-time monitoring of such campaigns and give credit to affiliates for the genuinely re-engaged customers who learn about new products and services that the online seller is offering now. 

Here is an interesting case study giving deeper view of how mFilterIt retargeting ad-fraud solution works and what tangible benefits it gives to a customer.