Whether you are an advertiser or a publisher, it’s crucial to make sure ads are displayed correctly, your target audience sees them, and fraudsters have no loopholes to rob you. To bypass geo-based limitations, avoid IP banning, and outsmart scammers, proxies are used. In this article, we will dig into problems that may occur while verifying ads and how proxies can help you stay away from those difficulties. You will know which type of proxies to use and how to choose proxies for ad verification.
What is ad verification, and why do you need it?
Ad verification is the process of checking whether advertisements meet the objectives of a promotional campaign, namely viewability, targeting, or context suitability. Safety issues, such as ensuring that an ad doesn’t contain malware, are also part of ad verification. You need to verify your ads to make certain that they increase brand awareness, generate leads, or reach other goals. Scrutinising your ads is also important to make sure ad dollars aren’t wasted on false impressions, bot-generated clicks, and more severe fraud.
That’s why it’s important that ad verification goes smoothly and that you get truthful results, like the real number of views. Sometimes it’s hard due to the technical aspects, for example, geo-based restrictions. One more reason for failing ad verification is that fraud schemes evolve, and it may be hard to find out that some hoax is going on.
Here, proxies come into play. They hide your real IP and this way they hide your identity and location. You appear just like a regular visitor and see the reality of your ads.
Staying incognito is even more necessary if you opt for programmatic advertising, where ad verification has its own specifics. Proxies here make a difference and boost the whole process. Let’s take a closer look. Though, first, it’s necessary to know more about programmatic advertising.
Programmatic advertising: what is it, and how do you verify ads?
Programmatic advertising is the process of automatically selling and buying ad slots and displaying ads.
When you want to advertise something, you come up with creatives and upload them on a demand-side platform (DSP). It’s software that allows you to buy advertising from publishers. Then you set up settings such as targeting or a price that you are ready to pay. You may pay per click, view, or lead. There are a lot of platforms with different pricing models; the choice is yours.
On the other hand, there are sell-side (or supply-side) platforms (SSP). Here, publishers sell their ad slots. They also set up parameters, including price. DSP and SSP are connected via an ad network. Ad networks act as middlemen that gather ad inventory (ad slots) from publishers and sell it to advertisers. There is one more option: ad exchange. It’s a digital marketplace where no intermediaries are necessary. Here, advertisers and publishers sell and buy ad inventories firsthand.
Then the whole process is completed within 100 milliseconds. When a person visits a site, the site’s owner puts an ad slot (so-called impression) up for auction. Advertisers bid for it. A bid with the best matching parameters wins. A winner’s ad is displayed for the visitor.
To verify such ads, different techniques are used. The most popular methods are crawlers, built-in tags in an ad markup, AI-powered algorithms, and sometimes you cannot go without human review. A lot of verification vendors develop their own verification tools and custom solutions. The particular choice of verification technique depends on several factors, including the ad channel and pricing model of the site where an ad is displayed. Some DSPs and SSPs offer in-house verification. With others, your marketing team or agency has to verify ads on their own.
Automatization of advertising and verification saves you time. On the other hand, they define the main difficulties of verifying programmatic ads, such as geo-based restrictions, fraud, and IP banning.
How proxies help solve ad verification problems
Proxies to lift geo-based restrictions
Programmatic advertising allows you to place your ads worldwide. However, when launching an ad campaign through a DSP, you only set up the necessary location where you want your ads to be displayed, not particular websites. A system then publishes ads on its own, without your involvement. Sometimes it happens that commercials are displayed on a site that you cannot reach from another location. For example, a lot of social media or entertainment websites have geo-based restrictions, but they are good places to display ads. In this case, if you need to use a crawler or check an ad manually, the site won’t allow you to.
Proxies are an easy-to-use and legal tool to bypass such restrictions. Normally, your request goes from your browser to a target server on the global web. A server understands your location from an IP and lets you in or blocks you. When you use proxies, requests go to a proxy server. Then a proxy server communicates with the web on your behalf. End servers see the IP and location of proxies, not yours. You can choose the necessary location and use IPs in this area. Sites will let you connect.
This way, you lift geo-based restrictions and verify your ads. Whether you use crawlers or tools created by ad verification vendors, now you can reach your ads and collect the necessary data to, for example, analyse the surrounding context.
You may think that it takes a lot of time to surf the net with proxies since they forward requests. But it’s not like that. If you use high-quality, not overloaded proxies, a delay is unnoticeable to you.
Proxies to deal with fraud
Not all people make money fairly. In 2020 alone, scammers earned $35 billion on ad fraud. There are many types of scams. The most popular ones include impression laundering, hidden ads, and malware. Sometimes they are mixed.
- Impression laundering
Impression laundering occurs when your ad is placed on two sites simultaneously. One site is a real source with a matching audience and context. The other one is a high-traffic site, sometimes with illegal content. Here, visitors are real, but they are not your target audience. The overall context is also different from your brand positioning. The majority of traffic ends up on this high-traffic site. Technically, your ad is visible, and you pay for views. Still, your return on advertising spend is low. When you try to verify ads through several thorny redirects, you, as an advertiser, see a real website with ads and suspect nothing.
The danger of this trickery is that placing ads on sources with unmatched or prohibited content may not just drain your budget but harm your reputation. For example, if you sell health and wellness goods, who’s going to buy from you if your ads are shown on a source with lewd content?
- Hidden ads
There are several ways to perform this sharp practice. Ads may be reduced to 1×1 pixel size or placed behind the main browser window (so-called popunders, in contrast to pop-ups). Sometimes scammers load many items into one slot; this way, only one ad is visible. Regardless of which hoax is used, the result is the same: visitors (even if they are real) do not see your ads. Still, technically, they do, and you pay for this.
Things are even more complicated with malware. There are diverse schemes that involve the use of malicious code. For example, attackers snatch clicks by infusing their code into an ad. When you click on such an ad, you go to a hacker’s site instead of a real landing page. Still, advertisers pay for it because, factually, there are actions regarding their ads.
Malware may compromise the safety of your target audience as well. The issue is that when people click on infected ads, they may download and install malicious apps on their devices. Of course, that can negatively affect your name and lead to problems. Hackers may attack even trusted sources. This means you should regularly verify your ads — where they lead, and how they look. This way, you can detect dubious activity right away and take measures to protect your safety, money, and image.
Usually, fraudsters know the IPs of marketing agencies and block them beforehand to avoid being spotted. This prevents you from discovering that you’ve gotten into scammers’ traps and may lose money or risk your name. When you suspect that you are dealing with fraud and begin to intensively check your ads, scammers may identify and block your IP.
In this case, proxies are the go-to option. When you verify ads, you need to access sources where ads are displayed and collect data like viewability and context. To do this, crawlers, or whatever instrument you use, send requests to target sites. Those sites see your IP with every request. IP addresses reveal more than just your location. It is possible to know whether you are a company or a private user and even the version of your browser. So verifying your ads barehanded is not a way to go if you suspect that fraud may be going on. When you combine verification solutions with proxies, you stay anonymous. Your real IP is hidden behind a proxy’s IP. You can use verification software to collect metrics and get real data about your ads’ placement, context, or viewability. Target sources will see proxies’ IPs and think that you are a regular visitor. This way, you can avoid being detected and blacklisted by scammers and verify your ads.
When it comes to malware, there is one more advantage to proxies. Acting as an intermediary, they add a layer of security between you and the global network. After a proxy server receives the response from the web, it scans the source of traffic. If it’s suspicious or contains viruses, a proxy server will not let it all into your internal network. It means that with proxies, you are safe while verifying your ads. Safety is never a bad idea when dealing with robbers.
Proxies to avoid IP banning
Even without fraud, you need to examine the sites where your ads are placed. If you visit the same site with the same IP again and again, a web source may suspect you are a robot or that you try to infect the web page with viruses. In this case, you may end up blacklisted. If your IP is banned, you can do practically nothing to verify your ads.
Proxies can help you with this too. When you use them, you may opt to constantly change your IP. It means that your every request on websites will appear as if coming from another person. You don’t have to install additional hardware or software. You use the same device, and IPs change automatically; you don’t have to switch manually. It takes only several minutes to configure proxy settings, and then you can go on with verification. Sites will detect different IPs and won’t suspect that all requests come from the same place. It significantly lowers the risk of being blacklisted.
How to choose proxies for ad verification
There are a lot of types of proxies: residential or datacentre, sticky or rotating. Now it’s time to know more about each type so you can understand what suits you best.
Residential proxies are the IP addresses of real user’ devices. You can install a special app on your gadget and opt-in to sell a part of your traffic to a proxy provider. Sometimes you use paid apps for free and give a part of your traffic in exchange for it. That’s how proxy providers obtain residential IPs, and that’s what you use if you choose residential proxies. You practically utilise someone’s device, just remotely. Sites rarely block those IPs. They are authentic and offer you the necessary privacy.
Datacentre proxies are IPs of datacentres and organisations that collect different types of data. Usually, they are cheaper, but sites detect them. The risk of being banned by web sources is high when you use those proxies. They are not an option if you need privacy and anonymity.
When you use proxies, you may select to make each request with a different IP. In this case, each time you search for something or follow a link, you switch to another address. This is called rotating proxies. Or you may use the same IP for a fixed period of time. For example, you connect to the web with a proxy IP and use it for 30 minutes. Then you automatically reconnect with another IP. This is called sticky proxies.
When it comes to ad verification, rotating residential proxies are what you need. They allow you to stay unnoticed under the cover of a regular visitor and reach a lot of locations.
If you advertise your product or a company, you need your ads to be of high quality and pleasing to the eye. You have to ensure that they are placed where intended and that they are visible and clickable. Proxies can help you with this. Using them, you can see your ads through the eyes of your target audience and instantly know if something needs to be improved.
As a site owner, you want only legitimate ads to be displayed on your site. On the other hand, you’re responsible for safety, because fraud usually takes place on the publisher’s side. SSPs may even block you if there are a lot of hoaxes going on on your web source. So you need ad verification even if it’s not your ads. Proxies can help you conduct verification and ensure that commercials lead where they have to and contain no malicious code. At the same time, proxies protect you from malware while you verify ads.
What can DataImpulse offer you?
- 5+ million residential proxies
At DataImpulse, you can find more than five million real checked IP addresses. We care about ethical aspects and pay our partners for their traffic. On the other hand, we mark some limits to ensure that proxies do not carry harmful software and are not banned.
- Country plans
You can explore foreign sites all you need; we have proxies from 194 countries available. Or if you’re interested in a particular country, you may buy proxies for that target location. In such a way, you have the best-suited IPs and do not overpay for them.
- Pay-as-you-go pricing model
Regardless of what plan you choose, you pay only for the traffic you actually use. For example, you buy 50 GB. You can use it within one week or within three months; there are no time limitations. If you don’t need all the traffic right now, it won’t go to waste. You may get back to it later when you need to verify new ads.
- Unlimited amount of requests
We do not put restrictions on how many requests you can make. Do as many as you have to. We monitor the amount of traffic to ensure that proxy servers are not overloaded and you have a high-speed connection. If necessary, on request, we can provide you with a personal server.
Ad verification is too important to go easy on it. Checking your ads may save you not only money but your reputation and customers as well. To make sure your ads are placed where they are supposed to be and lead to your site and not to a robber trap, proxies are used. They hide your IP, thus hiding your location and identity. Thereby, proxies help you to lift geo-based restrictions, check your ads on web sources worldwide, and outplay scammers. At DataImpulse, you can find more than 5+ million meticulously selected proxies. We pay for those IPs, so it’s completely ethical to use them. With us, you can have proxies from 194 countries or choose the necessary country plan, send limitless requests, and pay only for the traffic you use.