An Evolving Threat

While digital ad fraud has been a relatively easy and lucrative business for scammers from a technical perspective, it has proven to be a financial disaster for advertisers, publishers, and ad platforms themselves. It’s a low-risk, high-profit crime, which is what makes it so attractive to fraudsters. According to the World Federation of Advertisers, global losses to ad fraud exceeded $35b in 2020 and are expected to increase to $50b by 2025.1 The unfortunate truth of working in the digital ad space is: as new types of advertising opportunities are introduced, scammers are usually not far behind with new kinds of ad fraud to exploit vulnerabilities in the media buying process. The latest target? Digital audio. To better understand the growing threat of ad fraud within this rapidly-growing channel and how to combat it, we’ve created the following guide to educate and inspire marketers in the fight against this new generation of fraud.

1. Digital audio is booming.

After taking a hit in the early days of the pandemic, digital audio has since experienced tremendous growth—in both time spent with streaming audio by consumers, and dollars invested in the media channel by advertisers. This year, U.S. adults will spend nearly an hour and a half per day with digital audio, accounting for 11.2% of their total time spent with media. Active digital audio listeners will spend an average of 2 hours and 12 minutes per day with digital audio. 80% of time spent with digital audio will occur via mobile. Notably, 2021 will experience a major milestone between traditional radio and digital audio:

Over half of U.S. adults’ total audio time will be spent listening via digital services—the first time digital audio will surpass traditional radio.2

With consumers shifting listening habits, more ad space has become available and advertisers are taking advantage of the opportunity. Digital audio is driven by intentional and engaged listening, giving listeners the control to listen to what they want, when they want, how they want. Digital audio provides a powerful ad environment for delivering brand messaging. Through the combination of device, time of day, and content choice, advertisers can purposefully target “life’s moments” and connect with consumers in an emotional and contextually relevant way.

Following this accelerated growth, there’s been a transformation in how ads are being created and delivered in the audio landscape as programmatic becomes a more viable option in the space. But as programmatic audio advertising begins to be used more often in digital radio, podcasts, and music-streaming services, we will likely see a rise in fraud for audio formats—because, where the money goes, fraudsters will surely follow.

2. Digital audio fraud is impossible to eliminate completely, but there are ways to avoid it.

As an industry, digital advertising will always battle fraud—and digital audio is no exception, although it has been thought of as premium/fraud-free. In fact, in a recent survey, only 3% of digital media professionals saw digital audio as most vulnerable to ad fraud in the next 12 months (compared to 30% for social media or desktop display). Marketers need to be conscious when increasing budgets in this media type because the threat of fraud in digital audio is real and it is growing.

To avoid fraudulent or low-quality audio traffic, here are some main identifiers and red flags that marketers can look out for:


Name Recognition

The first, and most basic, place to start is to ask yourself: have I ever heard of this brand? Does the company have a LinkedIn page or legitimate website? Top recognizable brands are going to have quality inventory. The low quality is going to come from online radios and apps that no one has ever heard of, yet somehow have millions of impressions. Scammers are even spoofing the reputations of legitimate companies.


IP Addresses

Reputable sources appear much different in their reporting compared to non-reputable sources. When you see a single server reporting hundreds of thousands of impressions, that is abnormal. You would never see that in reporting from larger vendors like Spotify or Pandora.



If a price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It’s an unofficial rule in commerce: you get what you pay for. Research what reputable sources are charging, and compare it to the offering you receive from an unknown brand. Potentially questionable inventory may seem appealing because it is half the price of higher-end inventory, but you will most likely get half the quality inventory.



“Pay to listen” opportunities exist where people can engage in incentivized audio experiences. These people will just keep a browser open playing audio/ads, resulting in high frequencies in reporting. Advertisers may accept this and brush these results off, chalking it up to “someone has the radio on all day in their shop”. However, legitimate platforms like Pandora will continuously check the user’s engagement by delivering an “are you still listening?” pop-up message.

3. It’s similar to CTV ad fraud.

The current situation with digital audio is mirroring the early wild west days of CTV, when it was the hot new ad experience and media buyers demanded inventory but didn’t want to take the time to check and verify where it was coming from. Digital audio has the same model. Much like CTV, digital audio allows for precise audience targeting, making it very appealing for reaching audiences at scale. The problem arises when impressions are not coming from real humans, but instead from bots. By the time advertisers play catch up and realize the issue, fraudsters will have already made millions of dollars on fraudulent traffic. Unfortunately, these bad guys are always going to be one step ahead, with the good guys at a disadvantage regarding technologies and methodologies being developed. Fraudsters are using technologies that most don’t even know to be looking for. With video ad measurement, you need a device or a screen to associate the ad with, but with digital audio, there is no mass measurement option. For this reason, there is a lot of bling reporting and measurement, highlighting a huge disconnect and making digital audio ad fraud worse than CTV.

4. Auditing is necessary.

Don’t assume your campaigns are immune to fraud. Given the number of loopholes that fraudsters use to siphon money, marketers need to stay vigilant and use common sense regarding attribution and campaign conversion-focused performance. Look for anything that sticks out as unusual. Are a majority of impressions coming from a single IP address or is the frequency very (almost unbelievably) high from that same IP? If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. When in doubt, ask questions. There should never be a black box regarding your campaign data. Marketers should ask their measurement and attribution partners questions, look deeper into reporting, and don’t get too comfortable with what is provided. Vendors need to have open communications with clients to make sure both sides have a full understanding of outcomes, asking business questions to make sure campaign results are reasonable based on campaign KPIs, targeting tactics being leveraged, and media execution. It’s impossible to get your money back once it is in fraudsters’ pockets so it’s much better to keep an eye on processes during campaign run.

5. Choosing the right data partner is crucial.

In the fight against fraud, the right partnership makes all the difference. Marketers should seek out trusted partners that have the experience, knowledge, scale, and ability to identify and block new threats as they emerge. Digital Remedy works with brand safety partners to protect our clients from wasted ad spend and poor ad performance—ensuring ad budgets are spent on real impressions and campaigns are delivered to real audiences. We partner with Protected Media to leverage fraud prevention technology to catch fraud before it takes place and ad dollars are wasted on fraudulent traffic. Protected Media provides advanced cybersecurity ad fraud solutions to guard against current and emerging threats across digital advertising channels including digital audio to identify fraudulent traffic. Powered by Protected Media’s anti-fraud technology, Digital Remedy provides granular and actionable insights to advertisers while mitigating the threat of fraud exposure.

The bad news: ad fraud is not going anywhere. The good news: with the right technology, brands and agencies can protect their reputation and media budgets. To discover how Digital Remedy, powered by innovative anti-fraud technology and relationships with trusted brand safety and verification partners, helps brands stay fraud-free in the ever-evolving digital landscape, visit



  1. World Federation of Advertisers, June 2016, WFA issues first advice for combatting ad fraud
  2. eMarketer, February 2021, US Time Spent with Media 2021 Update

Mike Seiman

Mike Seiman, CEO & Chairman, is the founder of Digital Remedy, a digital media solutions company leading the tech enabled marketing space he co-founded while still a college student at Hofstra University in the early 2000s. The company has grown quickly and is now a major player within the crowded digital advertising landscape. The rapid growth of Digital Remedy, formerly CPXi led to its inclusion on Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest growing privately held advertising/marketing companies in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014. Mike was selected as a semi-finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year initiative in 2010 and 2013 and as a finalist in 2009 and 2014. In his free time, Mike serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Hofstra University. He also focuses on numerous philanthropic initiatives including sitting on the boards of the H.E.S. (Hebrew Educational Society non-profit community center) and Children International, where he spearheaded the development of community centers in both Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2010 and Barranquilla, Colombia in 2014.

David Zapletal

Before graduating in 2005 with degrees in Retail and Consumer Science (with an emphasis in eCommerce) and a Minor in Public Business Administration at the University of Arizona, David Zapletal had already successfully grown a start up ad network from serving an initial 1 million impressions per day to over 10 million impressions per day. It was his deep understanding of internet advertising during the industry’s beginning stages that led him to another start up at the time, CPXi. More than 8 years that have passed and Zapletal currently serves as Chief Innovation & Media Officer for Digital Remedy. In that role he continues to help grow and implement optimization tactics across various ad serving platforms, oversee daily operations of the account management and trafficking groups and maximizes ROI for Direct Response advertisers as well as for Publishers. Outside of Digital Remedy, Zapletal commits his efforts to an organization called Camp Dream Street, a camping program for children with disabilities, where he serves on the Board of Directors.

Jeff Reitzen

Jeff has worked in multiple facets of the online industry, from sales to operations as well as consumer engagement, content analytics and most recently in data optimization. His career began as a wedding, bar mitzvah, and Sweet 16 DJ where he learned the delicate balance of crowd energy management. Quickly, this skill made him incredibly successful in managing online sales for Geico. He joined CPXi at its startup stage as employee number 4 and has been a key driver of continued growth. His unique knowledge of what converts in the digital ad space, the application of data, and how to optimize platforms for efficiency continues to be invaluable to Digital Remedy clients. Today, Jeff is responsible for innovating and optimizing all Digital Remedy offerings including platforms, systems, tools, and internal processes—ensuring the organization remains on the precipice of the marketplace.

Mike Juhas

Mike Juhas, has over 13+ years of experience in ad tech client services, working with brands, agencies, and publishers ranging from top 10 advertisers to small regional organizations, to rep firms, holding companies and independent shops. An integral member of the Digital Remedy team, Juhas leads all client relationships, including facilitating onboarding and integration, establishing relationship protocols, overseeing Quarterly Business Reviews and status meetings, navigating financial coordination, and overseeing 24/7 team support. His specialties include consultative services, planning strategy, and account management disciplines. Juhas lives in New Canaan, CT with his wife and two daughters, and their dog, Perry–the unofficial company mascot.

TJ Sullivan

TJ Sullivan has over 20 years of media sales and leadership experience. His knowledge of the digital media landscape, ability to develop strategic solutions that solve brand challenges, and talent for motivating sales teams, have made him a vital member of several media and ad tech organizations. Before joining Digital Remedy, Sullivan was VP, Connections at iHeart Media, a cross-divisional group that enabled national advertisers to seamlessly work with multiple iHeart business units; CRO of Reelcontent, a video distribution company for brands; SVP of sales at AdoTube, a video ad network; and was Co-Founder and SVP of video measurement company, OpenSlate—for which he is still an advisor.

Sullivan had served as the President of 212, New York’s Interactive Advertising Club, and currently advises many early stage start-ups in the programmatic and video space. Notably, RUN (sold to Publicis in 2014), Futures Media, Transmit.Live, and Kubient.

Outside of his work in the media industry, Sullivan sits on the Board of St. Elizabeth School in Wyckoff, New Jersey and the Advancement Committee of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey. He resides in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

IP Zone: Leverage the relationship between users and the location of their IP addresses in a cookie-free, safe and scalable way.

Behavioral: Combine first party with network analytics and enormous scale to define custom audience channels that are optimized to sites with high brand engagement.

Demographic: Reach the right audience based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and income.

Mobile Device: Target users by mobile device type (Smartphone, tablet, etc.), carrier and operating system.

Geo-Location: Target your audience residential cluster, proximity to retail locations, campaign level DMAs and more.

Contextual: Place a relevant ad in front of a user who is reading content that contains specific terms.

Buying Power and Quality

Let’s be honest. Your ad ops are limited by your access to only a handful of channels and DSPs. You want more reach and better prices, but don’t want to sacrifice quality in order to achieve those goals. Digital Remedy has access to a vast multitude of channels based on relationships we’ve cultivated over nearly 20 years in business. That means we get the best prices, have personal relationships, and don’t get sent to voicemail when we call.

It also means that we can execute omni-channel ad ops for better prices than an internal team, while ensuring the quality is up to industry standards. On top of access to all sorts of specific audiences we’re able to to leverage first- and third-party data across all your campaigns and pivot across platforms based on results. Any campaign, any budget, any platform, any audience. Digital Remedy backed by AdReady is restriction free ad ops….and what could be better than that?

Resources, Time, and Overhead

When was the last time you enjoyed balancing budgets, reading resumes, dealing with aggressive sales teams, or wasting years of time for small gains in performance. By partnering with Digital Remedy you get the full support of $30m in OPEX including marketing teams, sales teams, and a dedicated 24/7 ad operations team. No hiring new employees for media optimization, business development, or account management. No months of training and on-boarding. No long meetings crafting sales materials. Just your team focused on making deals, and our teams and tech focused on supporting and executing those deals in a tech-enabled, digital ecosystem designed to get the most out of any KPI.

Reporting and Support

How nice would it be to have all of your data and insights in one location. We don’t mean an excel sheet sent out once a week with complicated charts, or an XML file with pages and pages and pages of tables (what is this, 2003?). We mean a fully customizable dashboard reporting in real time, or as real time as possible. You get to decide the how, what, and when of the reporting you’re seeing. And that’s ALL of the how, what, and when’s. If you want to see breakouts of all of the individual campaigns in your system, done. If you want broad scope comparisons of all of the campaigns in the last year, done. If you want to see CTR’s for specific audiences and compare them to CPM for your best performing advertiser but limit the scope to campaigns greater than 30k, done. All of this is at your fingertips with the AdReady Dashboard, all in one place.

Jessica Cortapasso

With more than a decade of experience in human capital management, Jessica Cortapasso serves as SVP, People at Digital Remedy. After graduating from Muhlenberg College, she quickly recognized her passion for people and entered the workforce in Human Resources where she gained expertise in employee relations, designing strategic benefit plans, and the development, implementation, and curation of corporate engagement initiatives for big-name brands and small companies alike. Becoming a member of the Digital Remedy family in 2013 while simultaneously acquiring her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management and Development from New York University, Jessica has steered company culture through significant events ranging from acquisitions and a rebranding, to the development and application of our Core Values that shape our daily business practices. Cortapasso resides in Brooklyn, plays competitive volleyball, and loves spending time with her nieces.

Erez Feld

Responsible for the financial and legal practices of Digital Remedy, Erez brings 22 years of experience in precision financial analysis, growth management practices, strategic acquisition, and investment leadership. A graduate of Hofstra University, Erez began his career modeling for corporate finance, and expanded his accounting prowess in the real estate sector. Erez joined Digital Remedy in 2008 as a senior accountant, and helped to create and build an accounting department that could support the rapid growth of the company and aligned with those needs. Over the past 12 years he has evolved through various positions at the company within the finance discipline, supervising and mentoring additional finance personnel, while growing under the tutelage of Michael Fleischman, former CFO of Digital Remedy. Today, he leads the Finance Department by supporting high-level projects such as acquisitions and restructuring, and is responsible for overseeing all financial assets, establishing financial procedures, controls, and reporting systems.

Michael Fleischman

After a successful career as an accomplished Fortune 500 financial professional leading Corporate Finance and Strategic Planning at Cablevision Systems Corporation and its programming subsidiary Rainbow Media Holdings, Michael currently plays a role in the overall management of Digital Remedy including direct responsibility for all financial-related activities including accounting, financial planning, M&A, legal, insurance, real estate and banking relationships. Michael brings more than 25 years of media experience at Cablevision and Rainbow Media and during his career was instrumental in the launching and managing of a number of cable television networks including 10 Regional Sports Networks across the US, American Movie Classics, Bravo, and the Independent film channel as well as the structuring of corporate partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp and MGM. Additionally, he was the finance lead on a number of professional sports team acquisitions including Madison Square Garden, the successful IPO of Cablevision and a tracking stock at Rainbow Media.Michael was involved in the creation and launch of Rainbow Advertising Sales which was one of the Cable Industry’s first Local Advertising Sales Divisions.

Tony Pascal

With over two decades of experience in the design, product, and technology space, Tony joined Digital Remedy as a graphic designer in 2007. His responsibilities quickly expanded, landing him in leadership roles across multiple disciplines including creative direction, analytics, monetization optimization, and management of platform development. He continued to grow with the organization over the last fourteen years, overseeing all design, development, and execution of Digital Remedy products and platforms. In his current role as SVP, Product & Technology, Tony leads product and technology development for the company and acts as the go-to liaison across teams, ensuring alignment on all aspects of internal and client-facing technology initiatives.

Prior to Digital Remedy, Tony built and ran his own direct response company from 2002-2007 after graduating from New York Institute of Technology, where he learned the fundamentals of digital advertising and optimization strategies that still remain relevant today.

In a previous life, Tony was a ski instructor and still remains an avid skier today. When he is not leading product development, he can be found working on old cars, rock climbing and hitting the slopes.

Gayle Meyers

Gayle Meyers is an entrepreneur, venture partner, investor, and operating resource in the digital media and marketing industry, with over two decades of executive leadership experience. After launching a management consulting firm, Growthing which is focused on optimizing growth strategies for executive leaders and their organizations, Meyers has frequently been tapped for high-profile consulting and advisory positions to help marketing technology companies enhance their in-market presence.

“Gayle is widely recognized as a leading strategist with years of expertise in the ad tech space,” said Mike Seiman, Chairman and CEO of Digital Remedy. “Her career in discovering and integrating game-changing technologies in the marketing industry will serve as an invaluable resource as we continue to enhance our product suite in the months ahead.”

With expertise spanning multiple disciplines, Meyers frequently serves as a keynote speaker at industry conferences for companies such as Google, Verizon, Omnicom, LiveRamp, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Oracle. A list of her notable past clients who have benefitted from her unique insights to increase shareholder value includes Tinuiti (acquired by New Mountain Capital), Adometry (acquired by Google), MediaForge (acquired by Rakuten), Integral Ad Science (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), and Tapad (acquired by Telenor).

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