• ACA study finds range of invalid traffic as high as 21%

Toronto, April 15, 2017: A landmark Canadian study finds invalid traffic ubiquitous across campaigns.

In the study* sample of 33 campaigns across seven advertisers, 6.5% of impressions were invalid. Further, the study by the Association of Canadian Advertisers and fraud detection-platform Sentrant, found 31% of impressions were human but non-viewable.

The results suggest that even marketers with more aggressive quality control over their campaigns are susceptible to fraudsters, depending on the vendor composition and targeting of their campaigns.

“Invalid traffic is ubiquitous and highly variable. What works today to protect marketers will eventually fall short,” said Chris Williams, VP Digital, ACA. “It is in the marketer’s best interest to institute a comprehensive digital media-buying policy with their agency.”

The study provides key benchmark data marketers can use to mitigate the effects of fraud.

Other key findings from the study: The best providers of human and viewable impressions were Canadian news sites; the largest source of invalid traffic are off-screen browsers, followed by non-human data centre traffic.
ACA is providing the following guidance to advertisers:

  1. Employ sophisticated invalid traffic detection and verification technology.
  2. Develop an inclusion list of publishers that meet your quality criteria.
  3. Use platforms that support domain transparency/ have cost recovery policies.
  4. Develop media quality benchmarks and a payment policy.
  5. Clarify if the platforms, trading desks and/or agencies you work with are “principal” or acting as agents.
  6. Ensure your contracts require your suppliers act in your best interest.
  7. Use a process audit to ensure suppliers are compliant with your contracts.

*Campaigns were run by participants mid February 2016 to end of 2016. No campaigns ran between August to the beginning of November.