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BizReport : Advertising archives : February 07, 2014

How to tell if traffic is bot-related

According to experts as much as 15% of all online ad impressions are bot-driven, amounting to a lost $42 billion each year for advertisers, publishers and brands. Ever wonder how to tell if traffic is bot related or from actual humans who are visiting a site to read the content, research a product or make a purchase? CPXi is launching the BotWatch website, set up to help brands better understand what is happening on their websites.

by Kristina Knight

According to Solve Media botnets will steal close to $12 billion from ad budgets this year; that is an increase of more than 20% YoY. However the news about advertising fraud, which many times stems from botnets, isn't all bad. Integral Ad Science says the level of fraud within advertising exchanges is down from 2012 by 30%; this while ad viewability and brand safety have improved.

Back to the botnets - how can they be spotted? By looking at three signals.

First, site overlap. According to CPXi's BotWatch bot browsers are seen visiting 'sets' of websites on a regular basis. Human traffic, meanwhile, spreads out their site visits.

Second, browsing behavior.

"Bots often visit the same site in rapid-fire succession, as opposed to humans who don't browse as fast and revisit in patterns stretching over hours and days," writes CPXi.

Third, same browser behavior. While humans visit website from a number of browsers, both mobile and PC based, bots will usually only visit from a specific browser or two.

Tags: ad fraud, advertising, advertising fraud, botnets, BotWatch, CPXi

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