Gabey Goh
Feb 2, 2016

Fighting non-human traffic: Tips for media buyers and sellers

Not all traffic is created equal. A brief guide to understanding and defeating IVT (invalid traffic).

Fighting non-human traffic: Tips for media buyers and sellers

The Media Rating Council (MRC) in the US, along with IAB US, recently issued a guideline for invalid traffic (IVT), also referred to as ‘non-human traffic (NHT)’. 

The definition of IVT is separated into two categories: General Invalid Traffic (GIVT) includes traffic identified through routine and list-based means of filtration, such as bots, spiders and other crawlers; non-browser user-agent headers; and pre-fetch or browser pre-rendered traffic. Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) includes traffic identified through advanced analytics, multi-point corroboration, human intervention, such as hijacked devices, ad tags or creative; misappropriated content; or malware. 

The data shows that almost 10 per cent of non-premium sites have more than 25-per cent IVT and 27 per cent of non-premium sites have between five- to 25-per cent IVT.  However, 90 per cent of premium sites have less than five-per cent overall IVT.

Joe Nguyen, senior vice-president at comScore and a leadership council member of IAB Singapore, says that GIVT is easily identified and filtered, with many advertising technology platforms already addressing this. 

“SIVT is more insidious and not as easily detected and blocked,” he adds.

Nguyen also shares that overall IVT is, at the moment, less prevalent in Asia-Pacific than Europe or the US, because the “fraudsters” prefer to target markets with higher CPM rates.

Useful tips for media buyers:

  • Minimise the IVT by using programmatic and campaign validation tools
  • Understand that 100-per cent human campaign delivery isn’t realistic
  • Be proactive and align expectations for IVT with publishers before the campaign begins
  • Give publishers access to campaign validation data so they can monitor their performance
  • Discuss any high IVT levels with your publishers as soon as possible
  • Consider what you are paying per human impression for future media-buying decisions

Read more
Bots versus brands: 
Ad fraud in APAC

Useful tips for media sellers:

  • Utilise measurement on ad inventory across your site to get a baseline read of the IVT
  • Understand the typical levels and thresholds for non-human traffic in the industry and align agency expectations with that accordingly
  • Ensure your inventory value is clear by proving you deliver humans in programmatic
  • When you notice high IVT, start by digging into your data to isolate the problem
  • Evaluate traffic sources to low-performing inventory
  • Optimise campaigns away from low-performing placements — before you hear from the agency team

Source: IAB Singapore



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