Google has received a warning from Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, that it must find a solution for tackling the problem of fake views of online advertisements. If it does not, the Internet firm will lose marketers, who will shift their focus back towards traditional media such as television and press, says a report from the Financial Times.
“Bots” a major problem for marketers
On Wednesday, there were reports that Google charges advertisers for even those YouTube ad views that it knows were by robots and not humans. YouTube’s fraud detection system is very accurate in identifying whether the ad was viewed by a robot or a human. Sorrell said the clients are become “wary and suspicious.”
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Fake ad views by “bots” have emerged as a major problem for marketers. “Bots” are computer programs that mimic the behavior of internet users. WPP is the world’s largest marketing services group, and according to Sorrell, it is on a crusade to eliminate fraud in online advertising. It is also trying to save advertisers from spending money on ads that are displayed on parts of a webpage that are often unseen by viewers.
Google not doing enough
Google, for its part, is trying hard to keep bots out of its systems, and it has made huge investments in technology and staff to do it. According to a Tuesday FT report, researchers at four institutions – UC3M, Imdea, NEC Labs Europe and Polito — have raised questions about if the search giant is doing enough to protectits advertisers from deception.
For the study, researchers made bots “view” two YouTube videos 150 times, and only 25 of those views were identified as genuine by YouTube’s public view counter. But Google’s AdWords charged the researchers for 91 of the fake views. In other words, it can be said that the study found that even though YouTube was clearly able to identify the fake views, still Google’s core advertising engine charged the researchers for the bot visits. The study also found that though YouTube’s system is not fully accurate, it is better than others.
Referring to Facebook and Google, the executive said both need to up their capabilities for providing clients with strong evidence that their ads are being seen by real people and not robots.