What You Need to Know About Fraudulent Website Traffic

By Bob West

Fraudulent website traffic is a relatively new concern for many digital marketers, and it’s a potentially significant issue as it can waste their marketing budget and minimize their ads’ effectiveness. Here’s a quick review of what ad fraud is all about and how Meister Media has responded to the issue for its clients’ benefit.

What is fraudulent website traffic?
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) notes, “advertisers expect that all online content is viewed by human audiences… That isn’t always the case.” Some individuals or companies have learned to create programs that produce fake, non-human website ad impressions, ad clicks, and website visits to inflate revenue. This is defined as fraudulent traffic, and the programs that produce it are referred to as “bots.”

Why is fraudulent traffic a problem for marketers?
Fraudulent traffic creates several problems, including:

  1. Marketers can waste considerable marketing dollars paying for fraudulent ad impressions; and
  2. Fraudulent ad impressions can dilute the metrics produced by legitimate traffic, which hinders marketers’ ability to evaluate which marketing tactics work and don’t work for them.

What is Meister Media doing about fraudulent traffic?
Meister Media has taken a number of steps to protect our clients’ advertising against fraudulent traffic:

  • Meister Media uses Cloudflare for its website firewall and security. As one of the world’s largest Internet networks, Cloudflare’s technology works to block fraudulent traffic from reaching our websites.
  • Meister Media uses Google Ad Manager (GAM) to serve its online ads. GAM is widely regarded as the best ad server for online ads given Google’s technology and its commitment to providing the best-possible experience for online advertising. GAM filters out ad impressions produced by fraudulent traffic before we record a delivered impression for the ad. This means that the metrics we report and bill from do not include impressions produced by fraudulent traffic.

Here’s an illustration of how Meister Media uses Google Ad Manager to report and bill clients based on valid impressions.New and evolving technologies promise to give media companies more control to limit ad fraud on their websites, but there’s no predicting what tools or tactics individuals or organizations who benefit from ad fraud will pursue in the future. Regardless, we’ll continue monitoring the situation as we are committed to building products that our clients can use to market their products or services to our audience with confidence.

Bob West is Meister Media’s Commercial Digital Director. You can contact him at 440-602-9129 or bwest@meistermedia.com with any questions about fraudulent ad traffic or any other digital marketing issues.