Bad Ads: All the ways ads misbehave, and how to stop them

Ads are not just about promoting products; they are about creating trust and delivering value. What happens when ads come with malicious intent or result in a poor customer experience? At Piano Academy Live, we had the privilege of hosting Mo Allibhai, Senior Analyst - AdTech Research Lead from Forrester Research, who delved into the landscape and outcomes of bad advertising, sharing how publishers can better navigate the challenge of bad ads.

In this session, Mo unpacks the ways in which bad ads misbehave and offers insights on mitigating their adverse effects. Whether it's the subtle erosion of trust or the broader implications for programmatic advertising, he shared crucial information for anyone engaging in the digital advertising space.

Key Takeaways

1. Trust Fallout: Bad ads can erode user trust, with 44.5% of respondents indicating decreased trust in a website after encountering a bad ad. This not only affects immediate clickability but also undermines the overall performance of programmatic ads on the site.

2. Programmatic Impact: The presence of 1-3% bad ads can harm an additional 10-20% of other ads, impacting programmatic yield. This decline in user engagement leads to lower revenue, including reduced CPM and ad revenue, making it a pressing concern for the programmatic advertising ecosystem.

3. Security Concerns: Beyond the immediate revenue impact, bad ads pose potential security risks. The increasing use of ad blockers can escalate to more serious measures, like network-level ad exclusions. This trend is exemplified by actions taken by entities such as the US Department of Defense. Such measures not only impact various industries but also could prompt the private sector to seek government intervention. This scenario risks further complicating the programmatic advertising landscape, potentially limiting reach, alienating B2B audiences, and driving up CPM costs.

4. DSP Influence: Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), such as The Trade Desk, play a crucial role in enhancing ad quality. By submitting bids below the set floor price, they enable publishers to gauge the true value of ad impressions. This strategy often results in ads that are slightly lower in price but higher in quality, sourced from reliable buyers. Understanding the characteristics of a 'good' ad is vital. Utilizing available tools is key, especially those that mandate scans for invalid traffic. This ensures publishers validate human engagement before accepting bids, reinforcing the integrity of the ad exchange process.