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Bot fraud breaches the trust of publisher and advertiser

October 28, 2015 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Tracking digital ad fraud is more essential than ever in the marketplace. Distil Networks offers insight into publisher and advertiser concerns about non-human traffic (bots) and digital ad fraud in their report A Digital Publisher’s Guide to Measuring and Mitigating Non-Human Traffic. The report is based on an online survey among 138 buyers and sellers of digital advertising.

Surprisingly, many still know little to nothing in terms how online fraud activity is affecting their business transactions. Forty percent of buyers and 48% of suppliers reported that they did not know how much bot traffic negatively impacted their online campaigns and/or web properties. Interestingly, more than a third of advertisers (37%) are willing to pay at least an 11% premium for certified human traffic.

Buyers and sellers did however identify which types of bot traffic problems were important to their business:

  1. Click & impression fraud – bots loading and clicking on links (100% and 82%, respectively).
  2. Skewed analytics – difficulty of separating human traffic from bot traffic in order to optimize for human traffic (50% and 49%, respectively).
  3. Lead fraud and fake registrations – form spam and bot-driven form filling (32% each).
  4. Content theft – where web scrapers are simply taking down content from sites (23% and 14%, respectively).
  5. Login attacks – large numbers of failed username and password entries (9 and 8%, respectively).

In order to diminish bot fraud, Distil recommends focusing on the:

  • performance, incorporate and incentivize performance metrics to ensure quality impressions
  • total impressions, viewable impressions are easily impersonated by bots and non-human traffic.
  • quality, investing in premium sites
  • transparency, where ad suppliers provide proof of where each impression was served.

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