Ad Fraud

What is Ad Fraud?

Ad Fraud is the use of bots to gain revenue from illegitimately displaying or accessing ads.


Many websites are funded by the sale of advertising and many other companies invest large amounts of money in advertising campaigns hoping to increase revenue in response.

The basic intent is that the system aims to display details of a product to the person who is most likely to want it. In return the advertiser gets increased revenue and the publisher get rewarded with an advertising fee. The system relies in large part on automated exchanges that will match adverts with potential consumers.

Ad fraud takes advantage of these automated processes to masquerade as real users and take income for displaying adverts to those non-existent users.

Ad fraud impacts both advertisers and publishers as advertisers are now paying for adverts that are being displayed to non-existent people and publishers suffer by increased chargebacks as advertisers start to identify the amount of adverts they suspect have been displayed to bots (known in the trade as IVT). Ad exchanges will detect levels of IVT and when they are too high can block sites from accessing the exchange.


Netacea works with publishing sites to identify IVT and therefore give site owners the choice of how to handle this traffic. This could be by blocking that user accessing the site or by returning content but not adding ads to the page. Either way the result is a drop in IVT.

To reliably identify IVT, Netacea Bot Management analyses the source and reputation of the origin of all traffic to spot bad actors but more importantly, analyses the patterns and behaviours of that traffic, looking at how this matches that of legitimate users and using Netacea's advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence engine to detect non-human visitors.

IVT is often sourced from botnets and Netacea's approach is well suited to identify those.


Netacea has successfully identified IVT on publishing websites, reducing IVT in some cases by over 10% of total traffic.