In brief, invalid traffic (or shortly IVT) refers to website traffic, which either isn’t acquired from real users, or comes as a result of an intentional, fraudulent activity.
In the digital advertising context, the TAG IVT Taxonomy describes invalid traffic as advertising traffic that doesn’t meet legitimacy criteria, hence should be excluded from the ad measurement costs.
Invalid Traffic Sources
Some of the common sources of IVT include bot traffic, fraudulent ad impressions and clicks, false clicks generated directly by publishers, crawlers, and a wide array of other, more sophisticated tactics.
According to the industry experts, ITV may fall under one of the two key types:
General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) and Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT).
General Invalid Traffic refers to easy-to-detect invalid ad behaviour and may include: traffic from website crawlers, pre-fetched ad impressions and/or clicks, duplicate clicks, traffic originated from a data center, domain or IP address, commonly known (and blacklisted) for its previous fraudulent activity, etc.
As for the Sophisticated Invalid Traffic, the applied fraudulent techniques are only growing more diverse & more complex with time, and usually require collaboration with ad verification companies to detect. Some of these may include: botnet traffic, domain spoofing, ad measurement spoofing, invisible ads, clickjacking, click farms, forced installs, and many more.
Unfortunately, it may happen so that genuine website traffic may be falsely detected as SIVT by anti-fraud software, if an AI-based algorithm can’t classify it into a specific taxonomy category. In this case, a publisher should contact their ad verification provider to resolve the issue as soon as possible, hence mitigate the damage done.
How to Reduce IVT?
Invalid traffic happens to be a problem for all parties involved in the digital ad ecosystem, both on the buy and the sell side, especially in the video advertising segment.
While brands and agencies are losing considerable amounts of money, paying for invalid video ad impressions, quality publishers are losing their video ad revenue, struggling to maintain their reputation on the market, while not being engaged in the fraudulent activity of any kind.
This is, actually, why the reduction of invalid traffic remains an urgent matter for website owners and content creators.
In this respect, some of the practical tips on how to reduce the volume of IVT include the following:
1. In addition to utilizing the conventional ransomware prevention mechanisms, segment and analyze ad traffic thoroughly to recognize unusual behavior patterns and detect potentially fraudulent activity faster and easier.
2. Partner with reputable ad verification vendors to sustain your reputation as a publisher.
3. Follow the up-t0-date brand safety & brand suitability guidelines to ensure maximum results for your demand partners, hence achieving continuous ad revenue growth.
Read more tips on how to monetize editorial content in 2020 in a guide for publishers on the AdPlayer.Pro blog.