Digital Transformation Ad Spend

Analysts estimate digital ad fraud stole $11bn more in 2021

By John Glenday | Reporter

February 21, 2022 | 3 min read

Digital advertisers are facing an epidemic of fraud according to an alarming new survey, which predicts global losses this year will reach $68bn – up from $59bn last year. The $11bn increase is equivalent to twice the annual GDP of Eritrea or four times of Andorra, showing that these are nation-moving sums.

These are being lost to unscrupulous traders across the world, with the US, Japan, China, South Korea and the UK named and shamed (in descending order) as the worst fraud ‘hotspots.’

Juniper Research estimates that 60% of global fraud can be accounted for by these five markets, with the US alone accounting for 35% of ad fraud losses in 2022, equivalent to $23bn in squandered cash.


The US, Japan, China, South Korea and the UK have been named and shamed as the worst fraud ‘hotspots’

Attributed to the relative maturity of the US sector, the largest single market for digital ad spend, the figures highlight the challenges inherent to policing even the most advanced economies with high levels of mobile app adoption and screen time.

Research author Scarlett Woodford said: “With the US representing such a significant market in terms of advertising spend, campaigns in North America will undoubtedly attract the attention of fraudulent players. This will lead to unprecedented innovation in fraud tactics within the US, with advertisers demonstrating a greater requirement for fraud detection and mitigation services.”

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The marketing research organization recommends that digital advertisers active in these markets form strategic partnerships with ad fraud prevention and detection providers to help distinguish between genuine and manufactured advertising traffic.

Previous studies have charted a similar rise in fraud, particularly in the rise of illegitimate impressions originating from video streaming.

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