The rise of digital advertising has brought unparalleled opportunities to target ads and improve performance. With programmatic campaigns, computers can manage ad placements across thousands of sites to target the right audience, at the right time, right across the web. Or so goes the theory. In practice, programmatic advertising is wide open to abuse.
A 2017 forecast by media buying giant GroupM predicted that digital advertising would account for 77% of all new spending that year, while television would account for just 17%. Yet the rise of digital advertising has also brought with it unprecedented waste and unparalleled opportunities for fraud. The challenge the industry faces is that, in some cases, advertising is not merely ineffective but unseen. Audiences cannot be converted because they are concocted, and spending is not so much wasted as stolen.