Invalid Traffic: What You Need To Know
If you're in charge of your business’ PPC or Google Ads campaigns, chances are you’ve come across the term “invalid traffic”, or “IVT”. But do you know the specific types of IVT there are? Or how they’re affecting your business? The experts at TrafficGuard have curated the IVT FAQ, your go-to guide for all things invalid traffic.
What is 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—in essence, any activity that doesn’t come from a real user with genuine interest is invalid.
What are the different types of invalid traffic?
All forms IVT can be segmented into two categories, general invalid traffic and sophisticated invalid traffic. While some IVT is more benign than others, both types of traffic can have a negative impact on ad spend and wider marketing campaigns.
General Invalid Traffic (GIVT)
GIVT is the form of invalid traffic most easy to detect. It’s usually caused by web crawlers as they index web pages and is not done with malicious intent. GIVT can also come from accidental clicks, and internal traffic.
Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT)
More difficult to detect than its counterpart, SIVT is actively fraudulent traffic created to drain advertiser’s ad spend and create inaccurate data. SIVT can come from hijacked devices, adware, competitor clicks, or advertising botnets.
How can invalid traffic affect your business?
Wasted opportunity cost is an obvious consequence of IVT—marketers don’t want to spend their precious ad budgets on clicks unlikely to convert. However, IVT can affect more than just the financial side of business. We’ll dig into the other effects of IVT below, but for a more analytical deep-dive into the true cost of ad fraud, you can check out our whitepaper.
Wasted Media Spend As we mentioned, the cost of large amounts of IVT can be very detrimental to campaign ROI. A customer of ours recently found that 28% of their ad spend was going towards invalidated clicks, amounting to a massive $65K wasted budget.
Compromised Campaign Data Without complete certainty in the validity of traffic, marketers may struggle to make efficient campaign optimisation decisions, and any changes they do make that are influenced by IVT could be detrimental to campaign success. In the world of digital marketing, data is gold—so the cleaner and more accurate you can make your data, the better your campaigns will be.
Misplaced Resource Investment As well as compromising campaign efficacy, large volumes of IVT can cause marketers to direct spend to traffic sources which appear lucrative, but are in fact producing non-opportunities. Precious time, effort, and budget are at risk of being funnelled into sources which do not produce a strong ROI.
How can you stop invalid traffic?
Use an ad fraud prevention solution TrafficGuard’s PPC Protection solution is both the identification and the mitigation for IVT. The platform proactively stops your ads from showing to sources of IVT, and offers unprecedented levels of visibility across all your traffic, enabling you to get the most from your data. When IVT cannot be stopped without catching genuine traffic in the crossfire, you can even use TrafficGuard reporting to submit a Google Ads refund claim. You can find out more about TrafficGuard’s solution here.
Understand your ad traffic Knowledge is power, so having an in-depth understanding of your usual traffic can help you spot any suspicious activity. Use TrafficGuard to monitor what you consider to be valid traffic, paying close attention to geography and pages visited, and use these insights to highlight any anomalous activity. As well as helping you detect IVT, having a deeper understanding of your ad traffic will also better inform your marketing campaigns. You can use these quantifiable insights into your visitors’ habits and demographics to create more targeted and personalized campaigns. By verifying every click-through, TrafficGuard helps improve campaign quality and ROI by both mitigating IVT and providing better clarity on genuine users—it’s a win win situation!