How to fight the Zombie Invasion

How to fight the Zombie Invasion
SHARE
THIS



With recent CEASA data revealing that almost a third of all advertising dollars spent in Australia are spent online, ahead of both free to air television and newspapers, and this week’s IAB/PWC Online Advertising Expenditure Report for the March quarter showing a 17.1 percent year on year growth, the digital marketing ecosystem can no longer claim to be the new kid on the block.

But as it continues to become more of a sophisticated medium for advertising, the industry needs to close ranks to ensure that its standards, behaviours and practices reflect its increasing maturity.

Fake and fraudulent traffic is a universally acknowledged issue within the digital ecosystem but the influx of Botnets continues to increase as the less scrupulous players remain focused on delivering the Holy Grail of scale to clients at the expense of scrupulousness.

The financial impact on an advertiser's bottom line has been well documented, with US IAB Chairman and Ziff Davis CEO Vivek Shah estimating earlier this year that 36 percent of all Web traffic is non-human traffic, but publishers all need to be aware of the challenges this zombie invasion poses to them. Bots can significantly water down their inventory and call into question scale, a once infallible metric.

With this in mind, here are the five things that publishers should be doing to safeguard against traffic fraud

 

1. Know your traffic sources. Obvious, but it needs reiterating. Publishers need to understand their traffic sources intimately. It’s necessary for conversations with advertisers, but it can also help in identifying any traffic source aberrations, possibly driven by botnets. Anything other than organic and search traffic brings some level of risk. Sometimes, even when the traffic is organic, there are bots out of your control that may crawl your site.

2. Invest in analytics technology. You can’t fight a pack of zombies on your own. You need tools and weapons. Publishers need site analytics tools that enable them to measure all of their traffic partners’ metrics. Beyond that, publishers need to employ mechanics in-page to verify real audiences. Publishers should also have their audience metrics validated by third-party vendors to create neutral benchmarks for measuring advertising engagement.

3. Know your marketing metrics. To understand traffic vulnerabilities, publishers need to go beyond top-funnel metrics like clicks or impressions and consider downstream data. It’s at the top-of-the funnel where metrics can often be gamed with ease. But by analysing marketing channels, you get a better sense of bounce rates (high = zombie), engagement metrics (low = zombie), and overall odd patterns of behaviour. These numbers speak to traffic quality and can indicate non-human actors.

4. Avoid buying traffic. Admittedly, this one is difficult for most publishers. Even premium publishers are known to purchase traffic in some form. But consider the risk of ceding scale to an external party that is strictly incentivised to deliver quantity on your behalf. Quantity can dilute quality, with outsourcing leading to fraud.

As a result, sites with poor-quality users and suspect traffic can encounter serious monetisation problems. Being added to the blacklists of third-party verification companies can put a publisher in eternal purgatory where they can’t receive brand budgets from ad network partners. Even if the site avoids blacklist denotation, some networks will optimise premium dollars away from sites showing suspicious patterns and low-quality traffic. It can then be hard to right this ship, so the risk is huge.

5. If you buy, buy smart. Buying traffic inherently increases risk for the publisher, and buying non-organic traffic could drive drastically disastrous results. However, if you find yourself needing to increase inventory to deliver the expected impressions for the advertiser then you need to be asking how they are generating traffic for the site. If they deliver a credible, clear explanation, that’s a good sign. If not, it’s best to stay away.

If we’re smart, it’s very possible for us to stave off the zombie apocalypse. But as automated systems take hold in the industry, we’ll need to work that much harder to ensure traffic’s legitimacy.

Rick Abell, VP Global Publisher Development, Exponential Interactive

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Kim Kardashian Spruiks Cryptocurrency In Instagram Ad
  • Media
  • Technology

Kim Kardashian Spruiks Cryptocurrency In Instagram Ad

Businesswoman, reality TV star, and social media personality Kim Kardashian has posted an ad for mysterious cryptocurrency Ethereum MAX [EMAX]. In a post on her Instagram story – where she has 228 million followers – Kardashian wrote: “Are you guys into crypto????” “This is not financial advice but sharing what my friends just told me […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Great Southern Bank Rebrands With ‘Happily Clever After’ Via Indie Agency Richard Rose
  • Campaigns

Great Southern Bank Rebrands With ‘Happily Clever After’ Via Indie Agency Richard Rose

Great Southern Bank has launched a brand campaign this week, ‘Happily Clever After’, coinciding with its name change from Credit Union Australia, bringing to life its purpose of helping all Australians own their own home. The journey to changing from Credit Union to Great Southern Bank began back in 2020. When Australia’s largest customer-owned bank, […]

Nine Promotes Jo Clasby To Commercial Director, Publishing
  • Marketing

Nine Promotes Jo Clasby To Commercial Director, Publishing

Nine has promoted Jo Clasby to the role of commercial director – publishing, where she will report to Nick Young. She was previously director of client partnerships – publishing. Her new role establishes her at the same level of seniority as Anthony Smyth, commercial director – radio. Smyth was promoted at the start of this […]

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., listens as Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, not pictured, speaks during a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, U.S., on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015. Prime Minister Modi plans on connecting 600,000 villages across India using fiber optic cable as part of his
  • Technology

“No F*cking Way!”: Pink Floyd Frontman Refused To Give Mark Zuckerberg Rights To Song

Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd, said he refused to give Mark Zuckerberg the rights to use hit song Another Brick in the Wall (Part Two). Waters was speaking at a pro-Julian Assange event when he said that he had been offered a “huge, huge amount of money” for the use of the 1979 hit […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Accor Celebrates Aussie & NZ Cities With New ‘Go ALL Out’ Campaign
  • Campaigns

Accor Celebrates Aussie & NZ Cities With New ‘Go ALL Out’ Campaign

Hospitality giant Accor is shining a light on the joy of cities through its newest campaign, ‘Go ALL Out’, which launches in Australia and New Zealand today. The gateway to the ‘Go ALL Out’ campaign is ALL – Accor Live Limitless, a lifestyle loyalty program that integrates rewards, services and experiences throughout the Accor portfolio […]

Marketing Firm Silverbean Set To Double Headcount To Support New Client Wins
  • Marketing

Marketing Firm Silverbean Set To Double Headcount To Support New Client Wins

Global affiliate and partner marketing firm Silverbean has secured new contracts with 13 major Australian brands and is now working to double the size of its Asia-Pacific team. Silverbean launched in Australia in 2019 and has seen steady growth through its work with retailers. Now, with 15 new brands joining the Silverbean portfolio, the agency […]

Xandr Launches New Guide Exploring The Future Of Identity
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Xandr Launches New Guide Exploring The Future Of Identity

Xandr, AT&T’s advanced advertising company, today released “Shaping the Future of Identity,” an industry guide exploring the approaches for buyers and sellers, as well as market participants, as they evaluate identity solutions in preparation for a future without third-party cookies.

GTI Appoints New GM Of Marketing & Strategy, Snares Fresh Client
  • Marketing

GTI Appoints New GM Of Marketing & Strategy, Snares Fresh Client

Tourism PR and marketing agency GTI has announced the appointment of longtime media executive Jenny Pham as its new general manager of marketing and strategy. Pham (pictured above) will lead the agency’s marketing division with responsibility for strategy, media and consumer marketing, while GTI founder and managing director Sarah Anderson remains as the day-to-day lead […]

Hospitality Networking Platform Clipboard Launches Equity Crowdfunding Campaign
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Hospitality Networking Platform Clipboard Launches Equity Crowdfunding Campaign

Clipboard, a free professional networking platform for the hospitality industry, has announced it will seek to raise its next round of funding via equity crowdfunding platform Birchal. This will power its vision to transform the way the fragmented hospitality industry connects, shares experiences, markets and recruits. With a growing member database of over 24,000 hospitality […]