I’ve been meaning to link Rand Fishkin’s ‘Something is Rotten in Online Advertising’ for some time, so here it is.
He writes, in his second and third paragraphs (links in original):
Where to even begin… Should we start with the upcoming loss of third-party cookies? The bizarre Google & Facebook duopoly teamup against anti-trust action? The rise of online ads as a money laundering & terrorist-funding tactic? Or maybe we should talk about brands’ ever-shrinking ability to attribute ad clicks. Hundreds of millions in provable ad fraud. Disturbing privacy issues that remain unaffected by GDPR or other government efforts.
It’s a well written piece, covering ad fraud, the incentivization of ad fraud, and real-world examples, including this:
Not an ad pro but suspected the same during my time at Wistia and ran a test. 1/2 normal creative, 1/2 smoky the bear public service announcement creative. After a month the bear had driven 85% as many conversions as the branded ads. We stopped retargeting after that.
— Andrew Capland (@acapland) December 30, 2020
The world’s biggest con continues. The con artists don’t need to do three-card Monte any more. They can just get into ad tech. Rand’s piece is well worth a read.