Leading marketing data company AdMaster has long been measuring invalid traffic data in an effort to combat advertising fraud in the China digital marketing industry. Based on data collected since 2016 until now, AdMaster has found that invalid traffic has seen a slight decrease in China.
By measuring and analyzing traffic data from over 1000 advertisers from January to June 2017, AdMaster has found that 29.6% of traffic in 2017 H1 was invalid, a slight decrease from both the same period last year (30.4% invalid traffic in 2016 H1) and the last year in total (30.2% invalid traffic in the full year of 2016). AdMaster is now releasing the authoritative 2017 H1 Invalid Traffic White Paper for China Digital Advertising Market so that advertisers and the entire industry can be informed of the current state of invalid traffic in China digital advertising.
Over the past year, P&G has been working with a multitude of corporations to take five key steps: adopting a unified viewability standard; demanding third-party measurement verification; requiring transparent agency contracts; eliminating fraud; and ensuring brand safety. Chief Brand Officer of P&G Marc Pritchard stated in his recent speech “A Transformation Wake Up Call” that they had completed two-thirds of this goal.
This is nothing less than a revolution of the digital media ecosystem, and everyone in the industry is doing their part. AdMaster has rigorously researched and developed technologies to combat advertising fraud, creating holistic, in-depth, multi-aspect anti-fraud solutions to target various types of fraudulent traffic.
AdMaster has always strove to perform comprehensive studies on invalid traffic, releasing invalid traffic white papers every six months since 2016 that report on the state of advertising fraud (including GIVT and SIVT), and provide strategies and technological methods to combat fraud.
Based on established industry standards such as those of the Media Rating Council (MRC) and China Media Assessment Council (CMAC), the 2017 H1 Invalid Traffic White Paper for China Digital Advertising Market focuses on General Invalid Traffic (GIVT), Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT), low-quality traffic caused by ad viewability issues, video ad traffic verification, invalid CTV traffic. The report analyzes and summarizes these issues and propose methods to combat them.
Notably, advertisement viewability is tightly enmeshed with invalid traffic. AdMaster has always advised that viewability be seen as a currency: a universal measure that helps improve the efficacy of marketers and media publishers. A long-time advocate of and active participant in establishing and enforcing advertising industry regulations, AdMaster helped draft the first version of MMA China’s mobile internet advertisement verification standards from start to finish. Meanwhile, AdMaster assembled a team to develop a standard measurement SDK and spearheaded the effort in order to expedite standards implementation. Undertaking the majority of the development work, AdMaster integrated the ability to collect viewability, brand safety and invalid traffic data into existing advertisement measurement functionality. In addition, AdMaster conducted technical integration and tested the SDK with publisher platforms in order to outline actionable plans to promote brand safety and ad viewability verification. Brand advertisers have already begun to work with AdMaster to measure the effect of advertisements based on viewability standards.
AdMaster found that invalid traffic (IVT) made up 29.6% of all traffic in 2017 H1, a slight decrease from both the same period last year (30.4% invalid traffic in 2016 H1) and the last year in total (30.2% invalid traffic in the full year of 2016). Client-to-Server (C2S) API measurement of CTV traffic found that 9.4% of CTV traffic in 2017 H1 was invalid, a higher proportion than that in the full year of 2016 (6.5%), showing a growth trend.
The following are AdMaster’s findings on the overall state of 2017 H1 invalid traffic.
- Overall analysis: 29.6% of traffic in 2017 H1 was invalid, a slight decrease from both the same period last year (30.4% invalid traffic in 2016 H1) and the last year in total (30.2% invalid traffic in the full year of 2016).
- A marked increase in invalid traffic was seen in November and December 2016 and January and June 2017.
- Regarding media type, vertical media has consistently had the highest percentage of invalid traffic, followed by ad networks. Web portals saw a slight increase in invalid traffic compared to 2016 H1.
- By specific category of vertical media platforms, women, baby & mom, and automobile platforms had the highest proportions of invalid traffic in the full year of 2016; this condition was unchanged in 2017 H1.
- By industry type, the luxury industry had the highest proportion of invalid traffic and was severely suffered. The internet technology industry had the lowest proportion of invalid traffic.
- By device, the proportion of invalid traffic on PC was consistently higher than that on mobile. The proportion of invalid traffic on both platforms decreased in 2017 H1 compared to the same period last year.
- Incentive for traffic fraud has increased alongside advertising placement and the number of advertisers. However, an increasing number of device manufacturers and media platforms are becoming open to third-party measurement and are willing to accept client-to-server (C2S) API in order to standardize CTV advertisement measurement and collection. CTV measurement methods currently include third-party SDKs, C2S API, and S2S API. The former two are more secure than S2S and can more easily detect abnormal traffic.
AdMaster reached the following conclusions after measuring CTV traffic via C2S API.
1. Invalid CTV traffic made up 9.4% of all traffic transferred through C2S API. This is a significant increase from 2016, where invalid traffic made up only 6.5% in the full year.
2. A marked difference was seen in invalid CTV traffic in different industries, as a result of different preferences in CTV ad placement formats and channels. Finance and banking brands were more affected by invalid traffic, whereas automobile and internet technology brands saw a significant decrease in invalid CTV traffic compared to 2016.
AdMaster has found the following new trends in CTV traffic measurement.
Advertisers require multi-aspect measurement of CTV traffic. They desire holistic identification of invalid traffic instead of filtering out single items.
An increasing number of advertisers are requesting verification based on a hardware manufacturer whitelist.
CTV advertisement measurement is flourishing due to the combined effort of various industry members. By 2017 H1, all mainstream CTV device manufacturers support C2S API.
AdMaster has created a hardware manufacturer whitelist (verified with proxy traffic) and combined single-item filtering with holistic invalid traffic identification in order to detect abnormal CTV traffic data.
Invalid traffic was a major focus in the China digital advertising market in 2016. When combating invalid traffic, third-party measurement companies need to make constant technological advances and improve their ability to accurately identify invalid traffic; however, everyone participating in the market—including advertisers, agencies, and the media—must work together towards this goal. Therefore, in addition to performing comprehensive analysis on invalid traffic, AdMaster also connects pioneering corporations and organizations in the industry (including the CMAC, MMA China, Digital Marketing Committee of China, Tencent and GroupM), using various methods to advocate for all in the digital marketing ecosystem to increase transparency in digital marketing and promote healthy development of the industry.
In addition, AdMaster has always firmly adhered to established industry standards such as those of the MRC, CMAC, and MMA. We protect the interests of brand owners by constantly improving our methodology for collecting, processing & computing, and analyzing impressions, clicks, audience measurement, and viewability data and GIVT and SIVT verification. We currently provide over 80% of domestic and international leading brands with sophisticated big data solutions for their business challenges.
Eliminating invalid traffic is the first step in going from measuring the quantity of digital advertisements to also measuring their quality; measuring ad viewability and ensuring brand safety follows. This is an advance in digital marketing as well as a significant trend in future development. AdMaster Founder & CEO Vincent Yan states: “A healthy industry environment is crucial for all involved. As a leader in third-party measurement, we are a member of the industry but we are its architects as well. We must assume this responsibility, working with brands, media, advertising technology platforms, and other third-party advertising measurement organizations in digital marketing to usher the industry ecosystem into an era of healthy development.”