South Africa: The Digital Advertising Rip-Off


Programmatic marketing might be viewed as a spray-and-pray exercise, but advertising has such a pervasive wastage and fraud problem that it is eating chunks out of marketing budgets and skewing performance results - as Uber recently discovered, having spent about $100-million on meaningless marketing.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Kevin Frisch, the former head of performance marketing and customer relationship management at Uber, has revealed how the ride-hailing company was in the midst of the #DeleteUber crisis when it uncovered advertising fraud worth more than $100-million. Uber is now suing about 100 mobile exchanges for fraud, either for falsifying placement reports or for fabricating them.

Frisch told the Marketing Today podcast last week that in 2017, Sleeping Giants, a liberal social media activist organisation that describes itself as "a campaign to make bigotry and sexism less profitable" by persuading companies to remove ads from conservative news outlets, repeatedly tagged Uber founder Travis Kalanick on Twitter, questioning why the company was advertising on alt-right website Breitbart, which bolstered Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Kalanick, Frisch suggests, went postal - he had left Trump's controversial economic council and wanted to be viewed as "more neutral". "I would explain it's...

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