The New York Times ran a feature article this week on click fraud. Why you ask? Because, like spam, click fraud is still a big problem for advertisers. The article pointed out that as the economy tilts downward, advertisers cannot afford to waste dollars. This is a good news, bad news scenario for online advertising.
The good news is that online advertising is highly measurable. Large advertisers that traditionally have been offline are now shifting dollars online. This fact has contributed to online advertising continuing to grow as traditional media is in decline.
The bad news however, is that this window of opportunity is narrow. The online advertising community must embrace measurability and enhance trust to gain share of spend from the big guys.
There was a significant event this week that helped in that effort. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released from draft the Click Measurement Guidelines. This document, three years in the making, is a great start for our community to come together around standards and enhance trust. Dozens of ad providers are busily working with third party audit firms to become accredited to the new guidelines. Advertisers will have a way to gauge the level of commitment from ad provides when this list is made public.
Click Forensics was proud to represent advertisers in this process. In fact, we were the only traffic quality management firm to participate and were quoted in the press release from the IAB. Many thanks are in order for the 38 members of the working group for a job well done.
Now, we find ourselves at the beginning. An opportunity exists to build on the foundation laid by the IAB member companies. Click fraud is going to be a problem for a long time to come. Progress is being made. But in order to re-accelerate the growth of online advertising we need more than standards. We need a community effort to work together to ensure advertisers have confidence that they get what they pay for. Articles raise awareness, documents create a process and awareness builds urgency. But ultimately it will take the effort of everyone in the community to get to the day where trust is commonplace and online advertising becomes the marvelous, measurable media it can be. We look forward to continuing our efforts toward that goal.