How online advertising runs on faith
So true! When I used to work in the Adwords org of Google, what exactly "invalid clicks" were came up in discussions regularly with clients. The problem is that there is no transparency. It leaves you in complete reliance on your trust of Google. However, there are some forces that keep them honest. I'd say cost-per-acquisition (CPA) was the only truth that mattered for clients that had good tracking in place. For them, if they could connect a purchase directly from an ad click, they were willing to spend an unlimited amount of money as long as the CPAs were favorable. And secondly, Google has own incentive to get measurement right. A bad reputation for cheating hurts them in the eyes of their big clients and politicians waiting to publicly dunk on them.
All that said, my ad blocker is on right now. I feel it's a business model that is not as interesting as substack-like subscriptions, twitch-like tipping, and NFTs.