Digital advertising spending is a huge market, expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025. Yet, the digital advertising world continues to be plagued by bots and fraudulent traffic so much so that about 36% of display ad clicks are deemed fraudulent and invalid. Such fake and fraudulent traffic leads to huge losses; it drains marketing budgets and thereby leads to a total of annual losses estimated at $35 billion globally. So, what exactly happens when invalid traffic hits the scene? It inflates advertising performance measurements, resulting in the misidentification of customers and inaccurate marketing insights. These harmed traffic acquisition efforts and the resulting poor advertising performance means wasted spending is only going to rise. That is where the Israeli startup Lunio comes in.

Preventing activity from bots, unwanted traffic sources, fraud, and malicious publishers

Lunio’s platform helps digital marketers ensure their ads are served only to relevant audiences. They help marketers defeat invalid web traffic by identifying and excluding fake, non-human, and zero-value traffic coming from different acquisition channels. This allows them to give clearer and more accurate insights so customers can gain a better understanding of who is interacting with advertisements on key traffic acquisition channels. So how do they do so? Their solution uses a combination of data analysis and cybersecurity techniques to catch and block fake clicks at the source. With their solution, they are able to help companies like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Bing, Yandex, TikTok, and Snapchat gain more control and maximize their campaign budgets. With the money saved, customers can reinvest it back into their top-performing ad campaigns.

In a conversation with Geektime, Segev Hochberg, COO & Co-Founder of Lunio explained that what makes Lunio stand out from similar products is that their client-side machine learning algorithms leverage WASM (WebAssembly) to allow for highly efficient client-side processing – something not possible when using a JavaScript based solution. “This allows us to perform in-depth and powerful analysis and verification all within the user's browser, ensuring that no PII (personally identifiable information) is transmitted back to Lunio. As far as we are aware this is one of the world's first commercialized applications of client-side machine learning.”

Lunio already protects the ad spend of several Fortune 1000 companies running multinational ad campaigns, saving them thousands of dollars every month. Hochberg hopes that they are able to continue to grow in order to help more and more companies: “Our overarching mission is to make the internet a cleaner, safer, and more reliable place for everyone trying to grow their business. And while that starts with protecting our clients from fake clicks and traffic, we aren’t stopping there. We see a major opportunity to provide valuable commercial insights through the private, first-party data we analyze as part of our protection process. Ad networks have held all the cards for too long. Hidden behind pretty-looking dashboards lies a ton of data which advertisers currently have no access to. In the near future, we intend to help our clients crack open these ‘black boxes’ and extract additional value from their ad spend by providing access to traffic and audience insights they otherwise wouldn’t have. This data can then be used to further optimize campaign audience targeting on positive buying signals from real customers demonstrating high purchase intent.”

Today (Thursday), Lunio announced the closure of a $15 million Series A funding round led by Smedvig Capital, with participation from senior leaders in the advertising-technology space from companies including Google and Warner. The new capital opens significant opportunities for Lunio to gain market share and scale; it will help accelerate the development of its technology while supporting further expansion into the EMEA and North American markets.

Lunio was founded in 2018 by Hochberg, Neil Andrew (CEO), and Alexander Winston (CBO). To date, they have raised about $18 million, and employ 45 people both in Israel and the U.K.