Almost 20% of the $66 billion spent last year on digital ads globally may have been wasted on fraud

More than $12 billion of ad spending in 2016 was fraud, or the result of invalid traffic, according to a new study by The, a finding that is nearly double the earlier estimate of $7.2 billion.

This statistic becomes all the more alarming when compared to the overall spending, as almost 20% of the $66 billion spent last year on digital ads globally may have been wasted on ads that were mostly either botnet frauds (never actually viewed by humans) or adware fraud (not properly loaded for a person to accurately view them).

For an industry that is continually designing more accurate and more effective ways to use data and analytics, this appears to be a major failure.

Digital, by many accounts, was supposed to fix these issues by pinpointing exactly where spending went and how it performed.

However, it appears that fraudulent actors are outpacing the ability of the industry to ensure the ads are going to the right targets.

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