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Digital Marketing Tools We’re Thankful for This Year



As we eagerly count down the last few days until Thanksgiving, the Industry Dive marketing team is practicing our own form of thanks-giving. 

Just like that one family member that forces you every year to go around the table and say what you’re all thankful for, I asked our team to go around and share their favorite marketing tools. “What digital marketing tools are you most thankful for this year?” 

And while we could make a long list of tools we use every day, I was more curious to know which tools the team could not live without. Here is a list of marketing tools we are most thankful for this year:

  1. Grammarly
  2. Moz
  3. Google Campaign Builder
  4. Google’s Data Studio
  5. LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Gmail
  6. Slack
  7. Canva
  8. Unsplash
  9. Zest

I loved writing this post because you can pretty much find a tool for every job function. Every person on our marketing team plays a different role and serves a different purpose  each equally as important as the other. This collection of tools resembles just that. Keep reading to see how each of these tools plays a role in assisting our marketing team function at its best.


As far as I know, Grammarly is the best writer-checking tool in the game. Since I installed this app a few years ago, I cannot imagine how else I would get through a workday without this plug-in catching every spelling and grammar mistake I make.

Industry Dive’s VP of Marketing, Robin Re says, “I’m thankful for the Grammarly plug-in. Not only does it catch any typos in my marketing copy and external-facing emails, but now, thanks to the Tone Detector [beta], it gives me a sense of how my email might come across. Which as any marketer knows… the HOW you’re saying something is just as important as the WHAT. I can sometimes wander into ‘formal’ tone and sound robot-like, so this is a nice nudge to lighten it up.”

This tool will help improve your marketing copy, edit your emails and generally calm your anxiety about missing a small grammatical error in your writing. I highly recommend installing this app if your job requires you to write regularly.


Moz is another tool to be thankful for, especially if you manage SEO for your website.

Marketing Coordinator, Olivia Iurillo says, “I’m most thankful for Moz’s keyword explorer, which we use for SEO. When our editorial team asks for help with headlines or is curious about what our target audience may be searching for, I use the keyword explorer in tandem with SERP analysis to try and determine what keywords will boost organic search traffic.”

Google Campaign Builder

Savannah Smith, Marketing Campaign Specialist, is thankful for the time saved by this tool. 

“It sounds simple, but I’m thankful for the Google Campaign URL Builder. We manage 40+ campaigns in a given week, and being able to quickly create UTM codes to track performance across different sources and mediums is such a time saver.”

Building your campaign tracking links could not be easier with this tool. 

Google’s Data Studio

Google’s Data Studio has endless tracking capabilities. It’s great if you have someone on your team who knows the ins and outs of the system to help you customize reports to show you exactly what you need to measure. Our entire team uses these reports for various different reasons. 

As the Director of Lead Gen, Malinda Gather spends a lot of time working in Google’s Data Studio. 

I’m thankful for Google’s Data Studio. The number and types of reports you can create are endless, but I primarily use the tool to track landing page performance by campaign and placement. This allows my team to quickly pivot our promotional and copy strategy if the report indicates our current promotion isn’t resonating. It’s also an easy way to track our most successful promotions.”

I, on the other hand, use Google’s Data Studio to track contributor content performance. Luckily, I have Jackie (our data analyst) to help build reports like this for me. 

When it comes to marketing data analytics, I don’t know a better tool. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Gmail

Wondering if you have the right person in your “to” line of your Gmail email? Or how you might be connected professionally? For those of you who email with people you don’t know regularly, you will love this plug-in. You can learn a lot more about the person on the other end of that email thread when their LinkedIn profile (including degree of connection and LinkedIn group membership) pops up on the side of your Gmail inbox.

Marketing Campaign Corodinator, Sammy Srinivasan, loves this tool. “I’m thankful for the LinkedIn email plug-in. It tells me more about the prospects/leads that I come across and it makes it far more efficient to see if that person is a fit for our campaign.”

Matching a recipient to their LinkedIn profile helps provide more context to the conversation, and of course helps humanize it a bit with a smiling face if they have a profile picture.


There are so many different chat tools to choose from these days. From one-on-one chats to larger group collaborations, Slack is the perfect tool to help improve company-wide communication.

This is a tool we are all thankful for. Our team has a private channel where we share ideas, ask questions and just chat throughout the workday. On the Slack website, they offer helpful tips for in-app collaborations and other various ways to utilize this tool to boost work-productivity (including polls, calendar reminders, and project management notifications).

Sr. Data Analyst, Jackie McCartney, thinks Slack makes work more fun.


The tool I am most thankful for is Canva. Although my go-to tool for designing social media graphics is Photoshop and InDesign by Adobe, I absolutely love having Canva around for creating quick, on-the-go graphics.

The Adobe apps are the most robust design tools you can find on the market and are perfect for people trained in graphic design; but for everyone else, Canva offers a large variety of templates for all your marketing needs. You don’t need to remember all the optimal social media graphic sizes because Canva has everything pre-set for you. They’ve also updated their system so you can share your work with others, offering another great resource for team-collaboration.

The real selling point for me is that you can use Canva on any computer by just opening up your web-browser, going to the site and signing in. Adobe apps work best on Apple computers, so I rely heavily on Canva for my graphics when I’m traveling or working from home.


Megan Gavin, Director of Audience Growth Marketing, manages the majority of our social media ads, so she knows everything that goes into creating the perfect ad.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” says Meg. “It’s especially important when you’re limited to a few lines of text in your paid social posts. Unsplash has a vast gallery of free, high-quality images to help provide a cohesive product message and experience to prospective readers.”


The last digital marketing tool we want to give thanks for is Zest. Thank you, Zest, for offering us an easy plug-in to share and discover new social media and digital marketing content daily. 

Their website reads, “The content you need when you need it. Build your skills to stay ahead of the industry. Let Zest’s AI personally match you with community-curated marketing content.” Install the plug-in and you will be able to share your favorite industry insights with other marketers around the world, as well as discover favorite content that others are reading. 

As a trusted source for marketers to discover insights and learn from their peers, Zest reminds me a lot of what we do here at Social Media Today. For example, at Social Media Today, we find the smartest minds in the social media marketing world and work with them daily to create unique content that offers real advice and doesn’t add to the content-overload we experience on the internet today. The Zest team is also committed to sorting through content and making sure they only share the best of the best. 

You can select topics (such as “social,” “SEO,” “B2B,” etc.) that you want to read about and the system will show all the recent articles suggested for that topic. They also give you a nice profile page so that you can save content and follow other people to see their content suggestions.

Well, that’s it from us. Of course there are plenty of other amazing digital marketing tools on the market, but these nine tools improve my team’s daily work lives and we are so thankful for them.


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



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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