February 4, 2015

Ad Fraud and Non-Human Traffic: How Rampant is the Problem?

By: Kate Dreyer

If you’ve read any news about digital advertising lately, chances are you have seen more than a few headlines about ad fraud and non-human traffic (NHT). It’s no secret that these issues do plague the industry, but just how rampant are they? 

In our analysis of hundreds of digital ad campaigns, we found that levels of NHT can vary greatly and that a small number of the worst performing campaigns generate the lion’s share of all NHT impressions. While it can be very difficult for campaigns to be 100 percent clear of NHT, the positive news is that the vast majority of campaigns had minimal levels of NHT while a smaller percentage had moderate to high levels of NHT:

  • 79% of the campaigns have <5% NHT, accounting for 25% of the total NHT impressions.
  • 14% of the campaigns have 5-20% NHT, accounting for 45% of the total NHT impressions.
  • 7% of the campaigns have >20% NHT, accounting for 30% of the total NHT impressions.

In total, the bottom 21 percent of campaigns contributed 75 percent of all NHT impressions. This suggests that by focusing NHT detection and mitigation efforts on these campaigns, the vast majority of all existing NHT activity can be curbed, and wasted ad spend can be greatly reduced.

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Tags: Ad Impressions, Ad Validation, Programmatic, Viewability