Invalid traffic in programmatic ads averaged 17% in Q2 2023 -report

Pixalate, a company specializing in fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics, has released its latest report which highlights a 17% average rate of invalid traffic (IVT) in open programmatic advertising across desktop web, mobile web, and mobile apps during the second quarter of this year.

The report, titled “Q2 2023 Global Click Fraud Benchmarks Report,” specifically examined the prevalence of invalid or fraudulent clicks in open programmatic ads for the month of June. Fraudsters exploit advertisers’ campaign optimizations to generate fake clicks, creating an illusion of increased engagement and value for their inventory.

Among the different platforms, the desktop web exhibited the highest average IVT rate at 21%. Following closely behind, mobile web experienced an IVT rate of 16%, while mobile apps had the lowest IVT rate at 13%.

A significant portion of the invalid clicks, approximately 57%, originated from click farms and data centers. Interestingly, click farms also contributed to 20% of all invalid clicks on mobile apps.

Within the realm of mobile apps, the 729 x 90 leaderboard ad size stood out with an invalid click rate twice as high as the overall average for mobile apps. Specifically, the invalid click rate for the leaderboard ad size was 26%, compared to the overall mobile app average of 13%.

In terms of different advertising categories on desktop web domains, the health category exhibited the highest rate of fraudulent ad clicks at 44%. Other categories such as arts, entertainment, government, and regional desktop web domains displayed rates hovering around 30%.

“The sophisticated schemes deployed by ad fraudsters are not just generating fake traffic but fake clicks as well,” said the vice president of ad product, ad fraud at Pixalate, Amit Shetty. “Advertisers are willing to spend more for higher click-through rates, but this mindset should come with a heightened sense of scrutiny, as fraudsters always follow the money.”

Fraudulent actions in the world of tech are unfortunately not uncommon. According to a report released in April, developers were exposed to $5.4 billion in app install fraud. Some companies, like Apple, succeed in their efforts to prevent those actions. In May, Apple announced that its App Store prevented more than $2 billion in potentially fraudulent transactions in 2022.

Written by Sophie Blake


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