70% Of Page Views Are Fake, Says Study

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 06, 2014


Over 70% of page views are fake or reader bots, costing advertisers billions in lost advertising dollars every year according to a recent research. Markerly, the online advertising and analyst firm that came up with this data had been studying the micro-actions of over 300 million people and terabytes of data on blogs and publishers in the past two years.

“Reader bots are serious and cost advertisers billions in lost advertising dollars every year,” says Markerly co-founder and CTO, Rahf Noor, who observed huge amount of advertising dollars were being wasted on bots.  

The company has also come up with a new technology that monitors the actions that readers take on a site. Reader bot activity is marked as true when a page closes without any mouse movement, either before a page loads or within a fraction of a second and usually from the same IP.

Another report by WSJ blog reported that nearly two-third of Web traffic is fraudulent, which comes from botnets that click on shady sites that have been created solely to generate false page view impressions, gathering advertising dollars for site owners in the process. The scheme works because advertisers only pay for their ads to appear on a site, and not specifically for their ads to be seen by real people. Moreover, they often miss out the opportunity to connect to the core audience.

“The fraudsters erect sites with phony traffic and collect payments from advertisers through the middlemen who aggregate space across many sites and resell the space for most Web publishers. The identities of the fraudsters are murky, and they often operate from far-flung places such as Eastern Europe, security experts say,” the blog says.

Part of the problem is that the legit ad industry itself is dependent on bot-like technology. Today, most ads are bought “programmatically,” or via buying software that automatically places ads on sites that fit the media plan. The ads are bought in bulk and at tremendous speeds. Eighty percent of all ads are expected to be place programmatically within the next 10 years. Tech companies have risen to the challenge of building software designed to such distinctions.

A new report by London-based startup Spider.io, (recently acquired by Google) which helps publishers and advertisers identify legitimate web traffic, also discovered a ring of more than 120,000 hijacked computers that have been flooding websites with fake traffic and in turn costing advertisers more than $6 million per month, the report said. 

Researchers believe it is essential for advertisers to know whether or not a page view was a real read or a fake reader bot and understanding this will transform the way advertisers think about their dollars when purchasing ad space online.