Many publishers are now aware or becoming aware of invalid traffic (IVT) and the potential implications it has on their site performance and ultimately, revenue. Automated (or bot) traffic and page errors can also result in a long-term erosion of bids, bid pricing, and reputation amongst advertisers.
So when there is a challenge to your revenue, you would naturally want to protect your income and might be considering turning to a third party or IVT detection vendor for help. But how do you know if that vendor is the right one for you? We considered this carefully when developing Traffic Cop, our in-house and Google award-winning IVT detection and prevention product. Here are 6 of our key questions to ask.
Yes, a seemingly innocuous term but not everyone means the same thing when they talk about invalid traffic. Are they referring purely to simple bot traffic or search engine crawlers? Are they also including more sophisticated bots that emulate humans, targeted bot attacks, adware, malware or hijacked devices, or even issues with your page that will lead to an invalid impression being generated?
Different vendors include different things in their products, and it’s important to make sure that what you think of when you think of IVT is also what they imagine it to be as well.
Not every publisher is an advanced developer. It’s important to ask how the product will be implemented, and whether it can be done by you or whether you’ll need help from a dev team.
We think this is an especially key question. You need to ask how sophisticated the product is, for example, can it detect ALL non-human traffic? At MonetizeMore we believe that the target level for traffic bots should be 0%, and that the only way to do that is to actively prevent complex bots (including ones that mimic human behaviour) and all page setup violations. To this end, we continue to update our product to keep up with new threats. Sophisticated or simple, all invalid traffic has the potential for catastrophic effect in terms of revenue loss and the long-term confidence from advertisers that they will get a good return from advertising on your site.
In addition, some products only offer a fraud report after the fact, and don’t actively block the invalid traffic from getting through. At that point, the damage has been done.
For us, a key component of IVT is what we call ad setup policy violations, or ASPVs. These include ads that appear on top of other ads or content, wholly or partially, ads that are hidden entirely, or ads that don’t follow the intended behavior in some way. For example, at certain browser widths, an ad could render in an unintended way and be off the page or overlapping some other element on the page. These are violations of Google policy and will cause revenue clawbacks and long-term traffic bots surge risk to your account.
If a vendor can’t provide full details about how much invalid traffic is coming to your site, and how much has been blocked, it won’t give you confidence that the product is doing its job. Not only that, but if it doesn’t give you warnings when there are page violations, such as ads being stacked on top of one another or overlapping, you could still be the subject of revenue clawbacks.
You also might want to ask if the vendor can block whole countries at once when IVT is particularly high. Traffic Cop can give you a report on the percentage of IVT per country, and also by device type, giving you even more reassurance and more control over what traffic can get to your site.
You might be tempted to ask this one first, because of course it’s important. It’s also important to make a value judgement on any IVT detection product, and not be swayed by introductory offers. Make sure you know the full rate structure and have a complete understanding of what you’ll be charged.
Choosing MonetizeMore’s award-winning Traffic Cop over a competing bot detection vendor often comes down to how the alternative answers your doubts related to bot detection and mitigation. You need to be clear about all the features your bot protection vendor offers so you don’t wind up regretting subscribing to their plan later.