As the bot and non-human Web traffic issue continues to spiral, a new survey out Thursday reveals that 80% of publishers concede they don’t have insight into how their traffic is audited by third-party providers.
In addition, the survey by The 614 Group and Distil Networks, found that 74% of publishers reported that traffic quality issues are part of pre-sales discussions, and 68% said they have received requests for information (RFIs) with acceptable non-human traffic (NHT) thresholds. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) projected that digital fraud costs advertisers $8.2 billion each year, due to the proliferation of NHT.
Publishers participating in the survey include AccuWeather, A&E Networks, Hulu, Thomson Reuters, and Univision. They shared their attitudes and experiences with NHT, both as an internal issue and as a discussion point with clients considering direct buys of their inventory.
“Ad agencies will stop paying publishers for NHT, yet only one-third of publishers are blocking nefarious NHT proactively,” Rami Essaid, co-founder and CEO of Distil Networks, said in a statement. “Monitoring fraud post-campaign isn’t the answer. Bot operators, and the NHT they generate, are only becoming more sophisticated,” Essaid said.
Among the survey’s key findings:
–Most publishers (77%) are victims of NHT; yet only 38% purchase traffic, which suggests that NHT is getting onto their sites through other means—through no fault of the publisher.
–The cost of fraud is greater than the NHT that lands on a publisher’s site. It should also include consideration of the ad units purchased by advertisers in the open ad exchanges like synthetic user profiles created by “cookied bots.”
–Publishers need to draw a connection between the $8.2 billion lost to fraud and campaign-level damage. Nearly 70% of publishers believe it’s possible to calculate the ROI of effective anti-NHT efforts on a per-campaign and per-client basis.
–Seventy percent of publishers believe it’s possible to proactively block NHT before a page loads and before cookies are set, yet less than one-third of publishers take that approach.