- April 15, 2015

Non-Human Traffic: Why it Matters and Why You Should Care

This is the second in a series of blog posts on combating the industry issues of ad fraud, non-human traffic and viewability. These posts will break down key impacts to the advertising ecosystem and share how Comscore is leading the way in tackling these issues so that media buyers and sellers can stay ahead of the fraudsters.

If your audience and viewability measurement has non-human traffic, you’re getting skewed. Unduplicated measurement can help.

Chances are you already know that ad fraud and non-human traffic (NHT) are big issues. But you may not know just how much NHT impacts every other performance and effectiveness metric you use to demonstrate success. If you aren’t taking NHT out of your measurement – including viewability and in-target numbers – your KPIs are infected and your results are probably wrong.

Measuring metrics such as audience, viewability and NHT in silos can wreak havoc on all aspects of your effectiveness. In our booklet on Non-Human Traffic, we discuss in detail the ways that NHT may be skewing your numbers and what you can do to achieve accurate measurement.

As you think about optimizing your ad campaigns toward human impressions and freeing your websites from non-human traffic, there are a few important things to remember:

  1. NHT in anything contaminates everything. When you have NHT in your success metrics, they are unreliable. Although NHT typically inflates metrics making performance look good in the short-term, they actually hurt performance in the long run. This is because feeding artificially inflated numbers into Marketing Mix Models actually pulls down ad campaign ROI calculations, making campaign performance appear lower. This impacts all members of the ecosystem because it can make it appear as though digital advertising is less impactful than it truly is.
  2. The bad guys get rich, everyone else gets hurt. While NHT is often thought of as a buy-side issue, both media buyers and media sellers are hurt by NHT. Even premium publishers can fall victim to the schemes of bad actors, so it is important for parties on both sides of the table to consistently monitor the traffic on their campaigns and websites.
  3. Not all audience measurement fully removes NHT. When buying and selling inventory based on audiences, the expectation is that these audiences are human. However, not all audience measurement providers remove NHT from their demographic reporting, providing inaccurate data that leads sellers to misrepresent their inventory and buyers to waste money on their campaigns.
  4. Not all viewability measurement fully removes NHT. While the MRC requires vendors to count NHT as non-viewable, measurement providers often remove NHT to varying degrees. Accurate viewability measurement requires a strong validation solution that filters advanced NHT to report the number of ads viewable to humans.
  5. Unduplicated measurement is the ideal. Rather than calculating performance metrics in silos, you need to make sure your delivered ads are viewable to a human in the right audience in order for your advertising to have an impact. To understand all of these elements of delivery for a single impression, you need truly unduplicated measurement.

To learn more about how NHT affects the key differentiators of ad inventory, download our report on non-human traffic

Download report

Other articles in this series: