Invalid Traffic (IVT) is bot activity on a website.
Usually, invalid traffic consists of impressions and clicks generated by publishers themselves on ads placed on their sites. Automated tools are used to create false ad impressions and engage with ads. This bot traffic also spams websites to steal user data amongst other malicious activities.
Although IVT can include good bots such as search engine crawlers, it is mostly used to refer to malicious and fraudulent bots.
Two types of Invalid Traffic (IVT)
General Invalid Traffic
General invalid traffic is a group of IVT that is generally straightforward to identify. The activity can be quickly recognised as being automated and may occur as a continuous “low hum” of activity on many websites.
Sophisticated Invalid Traffic
Sophisticated illegitimate traffic accounts for the intelligent and intentional capability of an attacker to circumvent measures put in place to prevent threats such as ad fraud. SIVT aims to blend in with human activity using a range of means such as:
- Large-scale browser automation
- Cookie theft
- Session hijacking
Frequently Asked Questions about Invalid Traffic (IVT)
What is the difference between good and bad traffic?
Good traffic is generated by human visitors and bots that are set up to crawl or scrape websites. Bad traffic is bot activity initiated by fraudsters to exploit a site’s advertising inventory, online data or for other malicious activities.
How much invalid traffic does a website receive?
This will vary depending on the type of website and industry sector. For most websites, invalid traffic is around 5% (non-human requests) to 15% to 20% (massive ad fraud).
How do companies deal with bots?
Many organisations have been using blocking tools for years as a way of stopping spam, fraudulent activity and non-human visitors.
However, while IVT blockers are effective at filtering out bot behaviour, they are only able to perform checks at the request level. They cannot block on attributes such as IP address or browser fingerprinting – which can be used by sophisticated IVT abusers to evade detection.
How does Invalid Traffic affect advertisers?
Invalid Traffic affects advertisers because it inflates their numbers and makes them look more popular than they are. All figures provided by such clients should be reviewed with care and compared against a range of other available sources. Using multiple metrics will help you gather a more complete picture in order to make the best decisions.
How does Invalid Traffic (IVT) affect publishers?
Clients who are victims of ad fraud should take it seriously as it has a direct impact on their earnings. If you cannot control your technology, data or server resources then the malicious activity will infiltrate your online ecosystem and leave you more vulnerable to attack from outside forces.
How can I prevent Invalid Traffic (IVT)?
By using IVT prevention tools, advertisers can ensure that their spending is being tracked reliably and accurately. In this way they will be able to combat fraud by focusing on the right channels at the right time.
Talk to our team of cyber-security experts today to discover more about our pioneering approach to bot management to help you detect unwanted bot activity and defend against it.