Invalid Traffic Protection Checklist: Best Practices for Marketers

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In the highly competitive world of digital marketing, where every click counts and every impression matters, there lurks a silent enemy - invalid traffic (IVT)

IVT, often synonymous with ad or click fraud, represents a significant challenge for marketers. This deceptive activity generates illegitimate clicks or impressions on online ads, leading to wasted budgets, skewed analytics, and reduced campaign effectiveness. 

The costs of invalid traffic can be staggering, draining marketing resources, and hindering genuine engagement with potential customers. To safeguard your campaigns, understanding and mitigating invalid traffic is crucial. 

Understanding the types of invalid traffic

IVT is any activity on your channels that doesn't come from a real user or someone with a genuine interest in your business. It can be broadly categorised into:

  • General invalid traffic (GIVT) 
  • Sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT)

Each type poses its own unique threats to marketing campaigns. For example, GIVT is usually caused by web crawlers as they index web pages and is not done with malicious intent. It can also come from accidental clicks and internal traffic.

SIVT, on the other hand, is more difficult to detect, often needing advanced analytics and human intervention to identify and prevent. It's actively fraudulent traffic from hijacked devices, adware, competitor clicks, and advertising botnets that drain ad spend and create inaccurate data. So, what can marketers do to protect themselves from these digital bandits? 

Further reading: What Types of Invalid Traffic Does TrafficGuard Prevent?

Using ad fraud prevention solutions

Ad fraud prevention solutions like TrafficGuard are designed to proactively detect, prevent, and mitigate fraudulent activities online, ensuring your ad campaigns reach real users and generate genuine engagement. 

TrafficGuard identifies and protects your campaigns from invalid traffic using three layers of fraud protection:

  • Pre-bid exclusions: TrafficGuard proactively stops your campaigns bidding on non-viewable or invalid placements.
  • In-stream prevention: Once your ad is clicked, we corroborate the signal with its related impression and enrich that data with intelligence from our proprietary Reputation IQ database to provide real-time validation.
  • Attribution verification: As well as limiting the opportunity for misattribution with in-stream prevention, we verify attribution in real-time before sources are notified.

When IVT cannot be blocked without affecting genuine traffic, TrafficGuard's reporting feature allows you to submit a Google Ads refund claim. Discover more about TrafficGuard's capabilities here.

By protecting your ad campaigns this way, you get:

  • More for your money: By reinvesting the money saved from the clutches of fraudsters, you can reach a bigger, better audience.
  • Genuine engagement: When ads only reach valid human users, the most important marketing metrics start moving in the right direction. Your cost per action goes down while conversion rates go straight up.
  • Sky-high ROI: In competitive industries, every penny of ad spend counts. Make that budget work harder and get better results by ensuring your traffic is clean, relevant, and verified.

Assess your traffic sources and implement a click fraud prevention strategy

To effectively combat invalid traffic, marketers need to assess and analyse their traffic sources regularly. Here are some tips to identify reputable sources and red flags to watch out for:

  • Regular monitoring: continuously track and review traffic metrics to detect unusual activity early.
  • Examine traffic patterns: look for sudden spikes in traffic or abnormal behaviour that could indicate fraud.
  • Review source credibility: work with reputable ad networks and avoid low-quality traffic sources.

You should also implement specific prevention strategies such as:

  • IP filtering: Block IP addresses associated with fraudulent activity.
  • Honeypot traps: Use traps to detect and block automated bots.

Regular monitoring and proactive measures are crucial for maintaining traffic quality.

Optimise landing pages and user experience

Enhancing the user experience on your landing pages is important for many reasons, including reducing invalid traffic. A user-friendly design that is easy to navigate and visually appealing will ensure genuine users remain engaged. Clear and concise messaging will further enhance this engagement. 

Additionally, implementing CAPTCHA or other verification methods can effectively prevent bots and automated programs from interacting with your site, maintaining the integrity of your traffic.

Case studies and real-world examples

William Hill uses TrafficGuard to block the invalid traffic that clogs up its paid media campaigns - 43% of it, to be exact.

As a major player in the sports betting world, William Hill faced significant challenges with various types of bots and non-human traffic, which mimicked human behaviour to carry out sophisticated fraud, claimed bonuses, and inflated ad engagement metrics without offering any long-term business value. This invalid traffic consumed a substantial portion of their marketing budget, with an average invalid cost rate of 18.3%. To address these issues and enhance campaign optimisation, William Hill adopted TrafficGuard PPC Protect.

William Hill's ROI was 4.5 times what it would be without ad fraud protection. Invalid traffic decreased by 80% in the UK and internationally, with one UK Google Ads account seeing its invalid cost rate drop 94%. This saved the company 18.6% of its Google Ads budget. In comparison, the TrafficGuard fee was just 4.2% of its spend.

Key Takeaways

Protecting your marketing campaigns from invalid traffic requires a multifaceted approach. Here are the key strategies to remember:

  • Implement robust tracking and fraud detection tools
  • Regularly assess and analyse your traffic sources
  • Use prevention strategies such as IP filtering and honeypot traps
  • Optimise landing pages and enhance user experience
  • Employ CAPTCHA and other verification methods

By following these best practices, you can safeguard your campaigns, maximise ROI, and ensure your marketing efforts reach genuine, interested users. 

Need a helping hand? It only takes a few minutes to set up a TrafficGuard account and start protecting your ad campaigns from IVT. Contact us to get started.

Get started - it's free

You can set up a TrafficGuard account in minutes, so we’ll be protecting your campaigns before you can say ‘sky-high ROI’.

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