Invalid Traffic

What is Invalid Traffic (IVT)? 

According to Google, Invalid Traffic (IVT) is any activity (clicks and impressions) that doesn't come from a real user with genuine interest. Examples of IVT include automated tools, robots, or other software mimicking real users. Real human traffic can be considered IVT if the human doesn’t have real interest in the site and its advertisers. Google looks at numerous data points for each interaction, including the IP address, the time of the interaction, any duplicate interactions, and various other interaction patterns to protect advertisers from IVT. More information can be found here.

How do invalid clicks relate to IVT?

According to Google, invalid clicks are clicks that are unintentional or clicks that result from malicious software. If there is IVT on your page, clicks and impressions from that traffic are also considered invalid.

Why should publishers care about IVT?

Advertisers care about IVT because they could be wasting money serving ads to bots. If a demand partner (for example, Google) detects IVT, impressions and clicks paid for by advertisers are refunded. Since advertisers are not paying for these ads, publishers will not earn money for these ads as a result. This means that publishers have shown their viewers ads that did not actually earn the publisher revenue. They may think they earned the revenue, and then they receive a clawback, meaning the revenue is taken back from the publisher. IVT can make buyers more wary of a publisher’s site, which can decrease revenue generated, even from real users. Preventing IVT can help to maximize the value of publisher inventory and protect publishers from unexpected revenue reductions (clawbacks). 

Tips to prevent IVT

  • Use a service that blocks suspicious IP addresses.
  • Prevent bot traffic.
    • For example, small publishers may want to use Cloudflare bot blocking.
    • For example, large publishers may want to contract with an IVT vendor such as Pixalate or IAS.
  • If purchasing traffic, make sure it’s from a reliable source.
    • Traffic may not be human.
    • Traffic may be human, but not relevant to the site (for example, low quality human traffic not relevant to site topic).

Is IVT related to Confirmed Clicks? 

Google’s Confirmed Click functionality is intended to ensure that users clicking on ads have intent to click on those ads. When a user clicks on an ad on a mobile device, they will have to click another button to get to the ad if the confirmed click functionality is in place. According to Google, confirmed click functionality is related to user interface design. However, publishers that have had no success avoiding the Confirmed Click functionality with user interface changes may have IVT on their site.