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Microsoft Ad Review: Increase in Fraudulent Advertisements

The results of Microsoft’s ad review for 2020 are out. In 2020, fraudulent advertisements saw a whopping 30% increase compared to 2019. As a result, Microsoft suspended almost 300,000 accounts from its advertisement platform in 2020 alone. In addition to that, they also removed about 1.6 billion ads and 270,000 websites that year too. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft’s findings were in line with the Ad Safety Report published by Google.

What led to Increase in Fraudulent Ads?

Both Google and Microsoft’s search engines experienced a steady increase in fraud ads during the pandemic. A common theme was the insufficient supply of products such as COVID testing kits and vaccines. The internet is full of gullible people, and the pandemic was the perfect situation for people posting such ads. 

Moreover, the pandemic caused many people to purchase from online businesses for the first time. The combination of inadequate supply of products and adoption of new business practices gave advertisers the perfect opportunity to capitalize on consumers’ gullibility. Microsoft has a very sensitive advertisement policy, and ads that exploit unfortunate events are not allowed at all. This led Microsoft to reject nearly 21 million ads in 2021. They also recorded a massive 100% increase in advertising accounts that utilized phishing and other scam techniques. 

The Solution

Microsoft continues to develop real-time evaluation software to monitor fraudulent ads. This, combined with user complaints, remains effective in identifying harmful advertisements. Nearly 65% of the reported ads were in violation of Microsoft’s terms and conditions. Microsoft has asked users to keep reporting suspicious ads to help root out scammers through the Microsoft ad quality escalation form.

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