Uber Chief Claims Most Performance Marketing is Pure Fraud

Kevin Frisch, the former head of performance marketing and CRM at Uber, told the tale of how ad fraud (specifically attribution fraud) ate at least $100 million of Uber’s $150 million online ad budget…

“We turned off 2/3 of our spend, we turned off 100 million of annual spend out of 150, and basically saw no change…”

Most “performance marketers” have no idea how deeply they’re being penetrated by online ad fraud. They don’t even know where to look. They have no clue how untrustworthy or irrelevant the numbers they’re getting are. Listening to Frisch tell his story brings it all to life.

Perhaps the most deeply disturbing aspect of his story was his description of how nobody gave 1/10 of a flying shit how much money was being pissed away.

It matters because even with those quantities of money, nobody seemed to know it was happening. While it’s not uncommon to turn off performance marketing and see little to no change in business outcomes.

Kevin Frisch appeared last week on the Marketing Today podcast to talk about some of the challenges he faced in the role, especially around the time of #DeleteUber controversy.

“What we saw is a lot of installs we thought had come through paid channels suddenly came through organic.”

  • The brand was under significant political pressure, much of which would come to Frisch, when the pressure group Sleeping Giants pointed out that Uber ads were popping up on the far-right website Breitbart.
  • Superiors were unhappy with the public heat, so Frisch instructed his ad buying networks to stop showing ads on the site. When they continued to appear, he just cut the flow of money (10% of the budget roughly). Nothing happened.

Attribution fraud differs from impression fraud by claiming credit (and payment) for downloads that would have happened organically.

Uber launched a lawsuit in 2017 against its agency, Dentsu Fetch, until it was countersued the following year for unpaid invoices. By 2019, the company had re-targeted its complaint towards its ad networks, though that was, AdExchanger observed, almost more interesting for what it omitted than what it included. In the filing, the firm recognised around 100 unknown companies.


Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattinhttp://pacevegas.com
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pace Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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