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What is Invalid Traffic

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

All publishers want a website with lots of traffic and lots of traffic in a website makes it a preferable option for advertisers too. There are many ways to create traffic such as providing quality content or publishing the content in a timely manner but the traffic websites get might not be favorable sometimes.

Most of the invalid traffic happens when bots start to engage with the website or content. Typically, the action is considered neutral or beneficial but some harmful bots might be posing as beneficial bots too. According to Statista, invalid traffic ranged from 5% to %30 across the globe in 2019 and was hugely rising up to this day.

What is invalid traffic (IVT)?

Each click or impression can be counted as traffic but if it is done accidentally or by bots, it can be considered invalid traffic. In theory, the clicks and impressions generated by invalid traffic are not counted as genuine impressions, however, tracking them might show a lot of info about the trustiness of the ad provider.

According to Google, some basic outcomes of invalid traffic are as follows;

*Decreased Session Duration

*Increased Number of Pageviews

*Increased Number of Pages per Session

*Visibly Increased or Decreased Bounce Rate

*Decreased Page Load Speed

Invalid traffic is not always bad and most invalid traffic is caused by non-harmful bots. This is called General Invalid Traffic. Some of GIVT is expected as one of its objectives is to place your site in the search engines but if there is a solid sign like those mentioned above, your website might be under the influence of Sophisticated Invalid Traffic. Now, let us explain both.

General Invalid Traffic-GIVT

This type of traffic is usually created by the bots and crawlers mapping the internet and optimizing the search engines. They can also test the security of the websites and find out if they are able to properly show ads.

Invalid Ad Placement is also included in this category because misclicks caused by incorrect ad positioning are often not included in genuine impressions, also in theory. However, the possibility of a fraudulent activity starts from here too.

Sophisticated Invalid Traffic- SIVT

Bots posing as humans or created for manipulating data, traffic from cookie stuffing and hacked or malware-ridden devices along with devices with falsified geolocation IP’s are included in this category.

Sometimes, an expired domain gets redirected to the website you are putting the ad for, which is a commonly practiced SEO tactic. Unfortunately, the success of this tactic relies heavily on the relevancy of both websites and any inconsistencies in the content might create invalid traffic due to people realizing that it is not the website they want to go.

Another thing to remember about SIVT is the website security. If left undefended, easy passwords such as “admin” gets penetrated and the website in question might be controlled by third parties. This scenario can create ad fraud problems such as ad stacking or pixel stacking to cookie stuffing run amok in a website you just advertised.

While seemingly harmless, purchasing traffic is another option website or account owners should keep away from. While generating a spike in numbers, this tactic stops to shine too early and renders your lead data useless with all those bots mixed into your organic consumers. It also feeds the bot networks so stay away from this at all costs.

How to Find and Eliminate Invalid Traffic (IVT) On Your Website?

The first step in overcoming this is finding out about and eliminating the “harmful” bots in your website and advertiser software such as Google Analytics is your friend regarding this problem. Every ad software has a limited bot filtering solution. Activating those filters and following the ad serving guidelines of the relevant provider goes a long way in terms of getting rid of bot traffic.

About this much activity happening outside their control, advertisers should at least look for good traffic with a third-party validation. This in turn forces every party involved (domain owner, ad provider and, advertiser) to meet certain criteria, ensuring the quality of ad placement and traffic. Some other solutions include;

*Invalid IP Address Filtering

*Using reCAPTCHA

*Using Web Application Firewall (WAF)

*Utilizing WordPress Plugins and other safety measures included in content platforms

*Getting info on IAB Bot lists

Final Words

Invalid traffic carries a lot of information that can be distilled and only with that info, we can understand whether the IVT is fraudulent or not. Checking for trustworthiness and taking preventive actions beforehand saves a lot of time about fighting fraudulent activity later. For fighting against ad fraud, Interceptd is here to help your company. You can book our free demo here.

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