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How to Use Empathy Mapping for Epically Effective Ads

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How to Use Empathy Mapping for Epically Effective Ads

Essentially an empathy map is a process where you’re going to actually work, talk about, or discuss and document someone else’s point of view.

It’s their perspective, it’s their belief system, it’s their emotions, it’s their worldview.

We are trying to dial all of these components to build a foundation for everything we’re going to be doing on the advertising side.

Advertising Costs Money, Right?

Since advertising costs money (lots of money in some cases), you want to be able to try and do your utmost to hit the mark as quickly as you can out of the gate. This is where a lot of the greatest click-through rates will come when you understand what the process is.

It allows you to go beyond superficial stuff, and really try and get an understanding of what your client’s environment is like at the moment.

For example, I was talking to a client in the divorce space, a highly emotional area, but in this case, it was from the woman’s perspective.

What is actually going on within this particular circumstance that a woman could be in? It was particularly insightful to understand what their daily worldview looked like so we could get inside what’s really going on.

What Does “Getting Inside” a Worldview Mean?

It focuses on six main questions:

  • What does she see here?
  • What does she think?
  • What does she say?
  • What does she do?
  • What is her pain?
  • What is the gain she’s looking for?

Again, it’s all about going through this in an interactive process, which we’re going to do today to understand what it is.

For example, what does she see? What does it look like? What does this problem look like? What is it? What surrounds her from day to day? What kind of office is she seeing? What kind of research? What kind of things is she looking at on YouTube? What problems does she actually encounter with what she sees? Where’s the conflict going on inside her mind? What does she hear? This is what her family says. This is what her friends say. Who is really influencing her, in her day to day? Is it the internal chatterbox? If so, what is that internal chatterbox telling her?

We’re all trying to figure out as much as possible because you can’t possibly interview a 100 or 400 people unless you have an epic market research budget. But you don’t need to!

You can find a lot of these answers just by doing some online research.

Where to Conduct Market Research

For example, YouTube. YouTube is a fantastic resource. Other resources where you can find this kind of information are Facebook Groups. If you just plug yourself into the right Facebook groups, you’ll find out information about what’s really going on.

You would be shocked at how many people have their own Facebook Groups for their business and don’t actually read the conversations that are going on them, even though they could tell you exactly what the pain points are of the people in their business.

If you don’t have a Facebook Group going, no problem.

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All you have to do is put any keyword into the search bar in Facebook, no matter what industry you’re in, and add yourself to the group and just go look for an hour at the things that people say and the questions that they ask. It will write your copy for you.

Again, you’re doing your utmost to try and figure out what’s really going on in your ideal customer’s mind, right? What’s, what’s really going on? What’s important to her? Try to imagine her motions, this is the important one. What moves her? What moves him forward?

What is happening at the emotional, core, gut, and amygdala types of emotion? What does she think? What is she looking for? What’s really driving? What’s in their dreams and aspirations?

Pay particular attention to any conflict that might be going on. Again, conflict is giving a sign that there’s a sort of yin and yang situation, where the perfect avatar is being pulled in one direction or the other.

Often, for example, in an agency, one of the things you would say is they are frightened of looking like an idiot in terms of making a mistake in the decision. If that’s what they’re feeling, that could be the environment that they’re working in, particularly in a larger company.

Again, the big obvious ones in there are:

  • What is their pain?
  • What are their biggest frustrations?
  • What are the things that are stopping them from moving forward?

That’s going to give you examples of tripwires that you can use in your marketing, particularly on your funnel side.

What Risks is Your Target Customer Facing?

What are the risks your client is facing? What’s the number one risk that they might fear taking on?

That may be just one hook or one angle that you can use within an ad that will make the difference between a 0.5% click-through rate and a 2% click-through rate.

When we have people who come in and focus on weight loss, for example, the average weight loss ad that we see is something along the lines of:

“Hey, do you wanna lose five to 10 pounds in the next 90 days with having to change your diet?”

That’s a standard sort of lead-in on a weight loss ad.

When we actually go through an exercise like this and we say, “Are you sick and tired of walking into your closet and having that little black dress that you haven’t put on in 2 and 1/2 years, staring you in the face saying, “I miss you. When are we gonna get back together? When are you gonna be able to wear me again?”

I want to be the person that I was three years ago. I wanna look and feel like the best of my abilities, but gosh, that little black dress just stays on that closet shelf year after year after year, reminding me of what I used to be.

All of a sudden, you have a completely different conversation. That’s a completely different conversation in their mind around the frustration of that little black dress mocking them every single day they walked in their closet. One of those is facts and figures.

One of them is a punch right in the solar plexus, and when you can write with a punch right to the solar plexus and get inside the conversation that’s happening in their mind, that’s the difference.


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The Biggest Ad Fraud Cases and What We Can Learn From Them

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The Biggest Ad Fraud Cases and What We Can Learn From Them

Ad fraud is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the latest data indicates that it will cost businesses a colossal €120 billion by 2023. But even more worrying is that fraudsters’ tactics are becoming so sophisticated that even big-name companies such as Uber, Procter & Gamble, and Verizon have been victims of ad fraud in recent years. 

So what does this mean for the rest of the industry? The answer is simple: every ad company, no matter their size or budget is just as at risk as the big guns – if not more. 

In this article, I summarize some of the biggest and most shocking cases of ad fraud we’ve witnessed over recent years and notably, what vital lessons marketers and advertisers can learn from them to avoid wasting their own budgets. 

The biggest ad fraud cases in recent years 

From fake clicks and click flooding to bad bots and fake ad impressions, fraudsters have and will go to any lengths to siphon critical dollars from your ad budgets.

Let’s take a look at some of the most high-profile and harmful ad fraud cases of recent years that have impacted some of the most well-known brands around the world. 

Methbot: $5 million a day lost through fake video views 

In 2016, Aleksandr Zhukov, the self-proclaimed “King of Fraud”, and his group of fraudsters were discovered to have been making between $3 and $5 million a day by executing fake clicks on video advertisements. 

Oft-cited as the biggest digital ad fraud operation ever uncovered, “Methbot” was a sophisticated botnet scheme that involved defrauding brands by enabling countless bots to watch 300 million video ads per day on over 6000 spoofed websites. 

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Due to the relatively high cost-per-mille (CPM) for video ads, Aleksandr and his group were able to steal millions of dollars a day by targeting high-value marketplaces. Some of the victims of the Methbot fraud ring include The New York Times, The New York Post, Comcast, and Nestle.

In late 2021, Aleksandr Zhukov was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay over $3.8 million in restitution. 

Uber: $100 million wasted in ad spend 

In another high-profile case, transportation giant Uber filed a lawsuit against five ad networks in 2019 – Fetch, BidMotion, Taptica, YouAppi, and AdAction Interactive – and won. 

Uber claimed that its ads were not converting, and ultimately discovered that roughly two-thirds of its ad budget ($100 million) wasn’t needed. This was on account of ad retargeting companies that were abusing the system by creating fraudulent traffic. 

The extent of the ad fraud was discovered when the company cut $100 million in ad spend and saw no change in the number of rider app installs. 

In 2020, Uber also won another lawsuit against Phunware Inc. when they discovered that the majority of Uber app installations that the company claimed to have delivered were produced by the act of click flooding. 

Criteo: Claims sues competitor for allegedly running a damaging counterfeit click fraud scheme 

In 2016, Criteo, a retargeting and display advertising network, claimed that competitor Steelhouse (now known as MNTM) ran a click fraud scheme against Criteo in a bid to damage the company’s reputation and to fraudulently take credit for user visits to retailers’ web pages. 

Criteo filed a lawsuit claiming that due to Steelhouse’s alleged actions — the use of bots and other automated methods to generate fake clicks on shoe retailer TOMS’ ads — Criteo ultimately lost TOMS as a client. Criteo has accused Steelhouse of carrying out this type of ad fraud in a bid to prove that Steelhouse provided a more effective service than its own. 

Twitter: Elon Musk claims that the platform hosts a high number of inauthentic accounts 

In one of the biggest and most tangled tech deals in recent history, the Elon Musk and Twitter saga doesn’t end with Twitter taking Musk to court for backing out of an agreement to buy the social media giant for $44 billion.

In yet another twist, Musk has also claimed that Twitter hid the real number of bots and fake accounts on its platform. He has also accused the company of fraud by alleging that these accounts make up around 10% of Twitter’s daily active users who see ads, essentially meaning that 65 million of Twitter’s 229 million daily active users are not seeing them at all. 

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6 Lessons marketers can learn from these high-profile ad fraud cases 

All of these cases demonstrate that ad fraud is a pervasive and ubiquitous practice that has incredibly damaging and long-lasting effects on even the most well-known brands around the world. 

The bottom line is this: Marketers and advertisers can no longer afford to ignore ad fraud if they’re serious about reaching their goals and objectives. Here are some of the most important lessons and takeaways from these high-profile cases. 

  1. No one is safe from ad fraud 

Everyone — from small businesses to large corporations like Uber — is affected by ad fraud. Plus, fraudsters have no qualms over location: no matter where in the world you operate, you are susceptible to the consequences of ad fraud. 

  1. Ad fraud is incredibly hard to detect using manual methods

Fraudsters use a huge variety of sneaky techniques and channels to scam and defraud advertisers, which means ad fraud is incredibly difficult to detect manually. This is especially true if organizations don’t have the right suggestions and individuals dedicated to tracking and monitoring the presence of ad fraud. 

Even worse, when organizations do have teams in place monitoring ad fraud, they are rarely experts, and cannot properly pore through the sheer amount of data that each campaign produces to accurately pinpoint it.

  1. Ad fraud wastes your budget, distorts your data, and prevents you from reaching your goals

Ad fraud drains your budget significantly, which is a huge burden for any company. However, there are also other ways it impacts your ability to deliver results. 

For example, fake clicks and click bots lead to skewed analytics, which means that when you assess advertising channels and campaigns based on the traffic and engagement they receive, you’re actually relying on flawed data to make future strategic decisions. 

Finally – and as a result of stolen budgets and a reliance on flawed data – your ability to reach your goals is highly compromised. 

  1. You’re likely being affected by ad fraud already, even if you don’t know it yet

As seen in many of these cases, massive amounts of damage were caused because the brands weren’t aware that they were being targeted by fraudsters. Plus, due to the lack of awareness surrounding ad fraud in general, it’s highly likely that you’re being affected by ad fraud already. 

  1. You have options to fight the effects of ad fraud  

Luckily, as demonstrated by these cases, there are some options available to counteract the impact and losses caused by ad fraud, such as requesting a refund or even making a case to sue. In such cases, ad fraud detection solutions are extremely useful to uncover ad fraud and gather evidence. 

  1. But the best option is to prevent ad fraud from the get-go

The best ad fraud protection is ad fraud prevention. The only surefire way to stop fraudsters from employing sophisticated fraud schemes and attacking your campaigns is by implementing equally sophisticated solutions. Anti-ad fraud software solutions that use machine learning and artificial intelligence help you keep fraud at bay, enabling you to focus on what matters: optimizing your campaigns and hitting your goals. 


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