What happens when invalid traffic meets TrafficGuard?

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We’ve spoken at length at how amazing TrafficGuard is at destroying ad fraud and stopping invalid traffic in its path. But what really goes on inside the platform? How can you use TrafficGuard to gain unprecedented insights into your campaign traffic? And what the heck do you do with those insights once you’ve got them? We’re lifting the curtain on our award winning platform, take a peek.

A quick reminder—what do we mean by ‘invalid traffic’?

Invalid traffic refers to any clicks or impressions that may artificially inflate an advertiser’s costs. IVT is generated by actions that provide no legitimate value to the advertiser, and covers both fraudulent activities as well as accidental clicks—it’s any activity that doesn’t come from a real user with genuine interest is invalid.

IVT is segmented into two categories: general invalid traffic (web crawlers, internal clicks),  and sophisticated invalid traffic (competitor clicks, botnets). It’s worth noting that both types can have a negative impact on ad budgets and performance, even if the IVT is not generated with malicious intent.

Detection mode: Unprecedented insights into your traffic.

If you’re new to this whole IVT thing, or maybe want to know a bit more about the prevalence of IVT in your campaigns, detection mode is where we start. Here, the TrafficGuard platform won’t be proactively blocking any form of IVT, but we’re providing super in-depth analytics about the traffic that comes through your campaigns. Psst, did you know you can get a two-week traffic audit totally free? Take a look here.

When you’re in detection mode, one of the most valuable features you can use is the Keywords Report. The Keyword Report lets you see the invalid click rate associated with all the keywords you’re bidding on, enabling you to spot any red zones where a large proportion of traffic is coming from nefarious sources. In this view, you can use various filters to really drill down into the data detail, and map out the distribution of click fraud throughout your campaigns. Warning: there are a lot of filters to explore at this point. We recommend getting a seat on the platform for your favourite spreadsheet wizard, buying them a coffee, and letting them explore to their heart’s content.

The platform not only allows you to filter by the percentage of IVT in the clicks through rate (which, by the way, we recommend paying close attention to when it starts creeping over the 5% mark) but it can also show you which types of threat each invalid click is coming from. A few types we see often are:

Non-incremental engagement

Repeated clicks from singular users. They may be unknowingly navigating to your site frequently using your ad listing, or could be competitors with nastier intentions.

Non-human engagement

Your classic bad guys. Malware and bots who give themselves away with distinctly non-human behaviour, like super quick page abandonment.

What can you do with these insights?

It’s simple to use these insights to better assign your ad budget to different keywords and campaigns. Take a look at keywords with low levels of IVT, say <2% invalid clicks, and compare them with your Google Ads metrics. Are they performing well? Do they lead to lengthy times on page? Navigation through the website? Even conversions? If so, you can be quite confident that it’s worth upping the budget in that area. Low risk, high reward—lovely stuff.

You can obviously flip this method on its side too. It may be worth reconsidering keywords which indicate high levels of IVT or fraud. We’ll never suggest dropping a keyword entirely, especially not if your Google Ads research shows it’s still delivering results for you. But it may be worth going back to your keyword strategy and deciding if you should lower the budget behind these terms.

Prevention mode: Stopping IVT in its tracks.

Ah, the big guns. When in prevention mode, your ads will be guarded by the most advanced detection methods available which automatically prevent invalid clicks, installs, and events. TrafficGuard destroys IVT at three key stages when in prevention mode; pre-bid exclusions, in stream prevention, and attribution verification. Let’s look at them in some more detail.

Pre-bid exclusion

Preventing the effects of ad fraud before it’s even present! TrafficGuard stops your campaigns from bidding on online placements which are invalid. This pre-bid optimisation prioritises audiences with the highest likelihood to convert (more on this later), meaning your ads are only shown to relevant, appropriate audiences. Ad fraud doesn’t even get a look-in.

In stream prevention

If a source on IVT does manage to click on your ad, further protection is in place. TrafficGuard corroborates the click signal with its related impression and enriches the data with intelligence from our proprietary Reputation IQ database, providing real-time validation. Invalid impressions and clicks are never passed to attribution solutions, cutting off the invalid activity and the click, and ensuring no further invalid events can take place.

Attribution verification

The last line of defence. TrafficGuard verifies the attribution of every click in real-time, before sources are notified of a successfully delivered click. This means you’ll never reward a partner for delivering poor quality traffic, and can be completely confident in the data you see when onboarding new traffic sources or optimising existing ones. The transparency gives you an extra level of trust in third-party channels and gives you the proof to drop any which are continually delivering poor quality traffic.

As well as this ‘always on’ protection, TrafficGuard has defences in place for when your ads are specifically targeted. Should a large-scale bot attack occur, TrafficGuard’s ML technology kicks in to prevent damage to your campaigns. We use a predictive IP feature called ‘Smart Ranges’ which enables us to condense millions of IPs down into smaller ranges and exclude the addresses doing damage. This allows us to circumvent Google’s limit of 500 blacklisted exclusions, thoroughly blocking bots while making sure genuine users don’t get caught in the crossfire.

Some AI/ML magic: Our ‘propensity to convert’ algorithm.

Coming back to the traffic most likely to convert, how does the platform know which traffic has the best chance of becoming a successful customer of your brand? Enter, the ‘propensity to convert’ algorithm. Our machine learning algorithms are always working to determine how much of a threat an IP is, ensuring your Google Ads account is always protected. We monitor the behaviour of users and assign each a quality score, which denotes whether a user will be blocked or not.

The TrafficGuard difference: Why we’re a cut above the rest.

As the most intelligent solution on the market, TrafficGuard is the ad fraud prevention tool of choice for busy, results-hungry marketers.

While legacy PPC protection could cope with smaller volumes of traffic and less sophisticated enemies, the boom in digital platforms and huge increases in ad budgets have attracted sophisticated fraudsters who can only be stopped by equally sophisticated good guys.

Other solutions can be aggressive and indiscriminate in their traffic blocking, resulting in a lot of false positives. This can lead to genuine traffic being excluded from campaigns, and potential loss of earnings from valid sources.

TrafficGuard is surgical by design. We only exclude audiences or placements when we see that they’re not delivering real traffic—no blanket blacklisting. We also offer complete transparency into why every single click is invalidated, and offer visibility into every single exclusion we make. No other vendor does this.

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