How much invalid traffic is okay for AdSense?

October 17, 2023 | by Aleesha Jacob
How much invalid traffic is okay for AdSense

Recently, we’ve been covering some interesting topics regarding invalid traffic, such as AdSense invalid traffic deductions, how to do invalid traffic analysis, looking at invalid traffic reports in AdSense, and more! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out those blog posts.

In this article, we’d like to tackle the question of how much invalid traffic is okay for AdSense. What you need to keep in mind is that Google has internal spam scores for publishers. This score shows the percentage of clicks identified as spam or invalid compared to normal clicks on ads.

If your spam score does not meet the minimum requirements, you stand the chance of losing your AdSense account. Google remains very secretive about the spam score, and you won’t see it in your AdSense dashboard.

What is Invalid Traffic in AdSense?

Invalid traffic or IVT refers to any clicks or impressions that might artificially inflate an advertiser’s costs or a publisher’s earnings. Within the AdSense environment, it primarily includes:

  • Automated Clicks and Impressions: Generated by bots or automated software.
  • Manual Clicks: Deliberate multiple clicks on one’s ads.
  • Deceptive Practices: Manipulative behaviors to enhance ad interactions.

The Impact of Invalid Traffic

Having navigated the intricate pathways of online advertising and experienced the consequences firsthand, it’s evident that invalid traffic isn’t just a technical term or statistic. It carries real-world implications that can deeply affect publishers, advertisers, and the entire digital advertising ecosystem. Let’s delve deeper into these ramifications and bolster them with concrete examples and evidence.

Financial Repercussions

One of the immediate and tangible effects of invalid traffic is its impact on a publisher’s bottom line. When advertisers are charged for fake clicks or non-human interactions, Google must compensate. This means that, as a publisher, the anticipated revenue can suddenly evaporate.

A study by the Association of National Advertisers revealed that advertisers lost around $7.2 billion to bot fraud globally a couple of years back. It underscores the sheer magnitude of financial implications linked to invalid traffic.

Account Integrity

From our direct engagement with AdSense and firsthand observations, we can attest that Google maintains a zero-tolerance approach toward guideline violations. Invalid traffic doesn’t just risk financial penalties; it jeopardizes the very existence of a publisher’s AdSense account.

Numerous forums and community threads, like those in Google AdSense Help Community, are filled with testimonials of publishers whose accounts have been suspended or terminated due to high invalid traffic levels. This real-world feedback reinforces the importance of maintaining account integrity.

Advertiser Trust

The digital advertising domain thrives on trust. Advertisers allocate budgets with the expectation of genuine user interactions. When they consistently encounter invalid traffic, their faith in the platform diminishes. We’ve liaised with various advertisers over the years, and the sentiment is unanimous: trust is fragile.

IVT has cost advertisers over $35 billion last year since bots now make up almost half of all web traffic.

Acceptable Threshold for Invalid Traffic

Although Google does not specify a “safe” threshold for invalid traffic, it’s crucial to note:

  1. Minor Fluctuations are Normal: A small percentage of invalid traffic might occur naturally due to accidental clicks or other uncontrollable factors.
  2. Consistency Matters: If a site consistently has high levels of invalid traffic, it could raise red flags.
  3. Zero Invalid Traffic is Ideal but Unrealistic: Strive for the lowest possible amount, but understand that completely eliminating it might be unfeasible.

How much IVT is fine then?

It’s hard to say, but less IVT is better. Many AdSense publishers don’t lose their accounts even though they receive invalid traffic. They might get much higher revenue clawbacks, which isn’t a good thing either. However, eventually, their spam scores might go over the limit, and they could get banned from AdSense.

The reality is that less than 5% of invalid traffic seems okay. AdSense will filter it out, and you might get some revenue deductions at the end of the month. However, the real question you should ask is not how much invalid traffic is okay but how can you protect your business from it. What if you do nothing to stop it besides the obvious, which includes not putting ads too close to the content, using risky traffic sources, or promoting accidental clicks, and one day you get an influx of invalid traffic? No need to worry, since we have discussed solutions against IVT below.

Proactive Measures Against Invalid Traffic

How much invalid traffic is okay for AdSense? MonitizeMore

The very sustainability of a publisher’s revenue stream can be jeopardized by invalid traffic. From our extensive experience and interaction with industry peers, it’s clear that proactive measures, coupled with advanced technological solutions, are the cornerstone to mitigating these risks. Here’s a comprehensive guide to fortify your defense against invalid traffic:

Regular Monitoring: Vigilance is Key

As a publisher, your first line of defense is maintaining a keen eye on your traffic metrics. Aberrations, especially sudden spikes, can be early warning signs. But it’s not just about noting these variations; understanding them is crucial.

With IVT solutions like Traffic Cop’s real-time monitoring, not only can you detect these anomalies, but you’ll also gain insights into their origin, ensuring you’re not just reactive but proactive in your approach.

Geographical Analysis: Mapping Authentic Engagement

The global nature of the internet means your content can be accessed from anywhere. However, if your content is tailored for a specific demographic and you notice a sudden surge from an unrelated region, it’s a cause for concern.

MonetizeMore’s Traffic Cop isn’t just about numbers; it’s about intelligent data. The solution provides a comprehensive geographical breakdown, allowing publishers to understand, authenticate, and if needed, question the origins of their traffic.

Technological Solutions: The Frontline Defense

In an era dominated by sophisticated invalid traffic generators, manual monitoring isn’t enough. The need for advanced technological solutions has never been more pronounced. These tools not only identify but also preemptively block malicious entities, ensuring the sanctity of your ad interactions.

With invalid traffic, you need to take a defensive approach. Don’t wait for it to get out of hand. You need something that automatically detects and protects your websites from invalid traffic. Traffic Cop from MonetizeMore is what you need! Traffic Cop uses machine learning and fingerprinting algorithms to detect and prevent invalid traffic from seeing and clicking on your ads.

We created the tool for publishers just like you experiencing invalid traffic problems without knowing what to do about it. We even won the Google innovation award for Traffic Cop in 2020 and 2022.

Are you ready to rest assured that invalid traffic won’t kill your AdSense account? Sign up to Traffic Cop today!

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