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Anatomy of Mobile Ad Fraud: Invalid Traffic (IVT)

Updated: Jul 2, 2022

As more and more advertisers are increasing their spending on mobile apps, mobile advertising fraud has also increased over the years. Ad fraud has been a feature of the digital advertising industry since its inception and with more and more mobile users, mobile ad fraud has emerged as one of the top marketing issues in various surveys.

Invalid Traffic (IVT) is one of the most serious concerns directly related to ad fraud. Even though invalid traffic is very common in the digital ad space, it is still a concerning issue for advertisers for marketers, and publishers. Having identified IVT in your marketing strategies might cause a lot of challenges. Today we will discuss IVT in greater depth, concentrating on the most crucial information a marketer should be aware of.

What is Invalid Traffic (IVT)?

IVT refers to any type of online traffic originating from a non-human source. This traffic does not fulfil any ad serving quality in terms of ad clicks and impressions. In most cases, clicks and impressions not made with genuine interest are considered invalid traffic. However, invalid traffic is not necessarily always associated with mobile ad fraud. For instance, traffic from sources such as search engine crawlers and bots does not originate with a legitimate interest but is necessary. But of course, in the world of mobile advertising, IVT disguised as human behaviour is a huge issue.

Mobile Ad Fraud - Invalid Traffic

There are two broad categories of IVT namely GIVT (General IVT) and SIVT (Sophisticated IVT). GIVT is the one we explained earlier, the good kind does not engage in ad fraud. However, SIVT is infamous for its evil intent. SIVT is made to appear human-like and is not completely safe.

General Invalid Traffic (GIVT)

General Invalid Traffic, often referred to as "good" IVT is created with the intent to run over search engines. This includes bots, crawlers, spiders, and any other non-human traffic that originates from a data center IP address. In general, it is all automated traffic that does not attempt to imitate human user behaviour. As a result, they do not engage in mobile ad fraud.

However, GIVT is not completely safe either. The majority of GIVT is fake traffic. And any traffic from invalid sources tends to skew audience measurement statistics by causing traffic surges that aren't produced by real users. Even if GIVT is not the result of ad fraud, it should not be paid for because it is not traffic that will convert. GIVT is usually simple to diagnose and exclude from results.

Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT)

So, if GIVT is relatively easier to detect, SIVT is equally difficult to detect. SIVT, which stands for Sophisticated Invalid Traffic, is a much more advanced internet bot that sends traffic to several publishers’ websites by impersonating a real human being. SIVT is traffic that is created to click on or watch ads in order to boost ad revenue. Not only that. Fraudsters use SIVT to spoof domains and manipulate location data, among other things. SIVT encompasses all types of sophisticated traffic that are more difficult to identify. The detection of this type of traffic usually necessitates the use of more complex tools, as the methods and approaches for employing SIVT for ad fraud are continually changing in order to evade detection.

Why is IVT a growing concern for the mobile platform?

It is undeniably true that invalid traffic has resulted in all sorts of malicious practices, including mobile ad fraud. IVT affects publisher revenue in addition to lowering the value of real impressions. Sophisticated nonhuman bots, which are actively involved in ad fraud, are responsible for roughly 18% of all internet traffic in the marketing business. It might be difficult to detect and eliminate sophisticated invalid traffic on your web properties. However, this is exactly what publishers should do in order to avoid bans, account suspensions, and other ad fraud penalties imposed by ad networks and exchanges.

How to combat IVT?

Mobile ad fraud is a moving target, and SIVT's bots are continually upgrading their operations to drain the marketing budgets of big brands. But here are some suggestions for how marketers may counter invalid traffic.

Monitor your advertising inventory

It is easier to discover Invalid Traffic by maintaining a good quality ad inventory. Classifying inventory with respect to their media types will assist marketers in identifying and eliminating bot traffic.

Identify the IVT starting site using analytical tools.

It is critical to be able to identify the source of the traffic in order to halt it. However, this would generally necessitate some investigation into analytical reports. Furthermore, It is strongly advised to use specialist tools for detecting and blocking invalid traffic. Com Olho’s solution can assist businesses in preventing various types of mobile ad fraud. You can discover sources of invalid traffic through cluster classification supported by patented technology. Schedule a free demo to learn more about how Com Olho may help secure your advertising initiatives.

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