According to the FT between 10% and 30% of all online marketing spend is on fraudulent views. Clicks to sites are generated by 'bots programmed to behave like humans, often via malware infected machines.
It seems the dream of perfect targeting is further away than ever - particularly on third party sites.
To make matters worse, real humans often use ad-blocker software so these metrics probably under-state the problem.
All the more reason, one could argue, to build your own community rather than hope to use someone else's.
not everyone is convinced that the problems will be solved swiftly. Last week, Daryl Simm, a senior executive at Omnicom, the US advertising group, told investors on an earnings call that some marketers have “tapped the brakes” in digital and re-embraced television, because of concerns that their ads are going unseen. Brian Wieser, advertising analyst at Pivotal Research, says that while some marketers have altered their media plans because of fraud, “there is more of a focus on finding solutions to the problems at hand than there is a focus on spending shifts”. He points out that three of the fastest-growing companies in the ad technology sector are Moat, DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science: groups that police the system by providing ad verification.