AdMaster: Invalid traffic made up 28.8% in H1 2018


Leading third-party technology company AdMaster has been measuring and analyzing invalid traffic over the last three years in order to promote a healthy advertising environment in digital marketing. In analyzing data collected since 2016, AdMaster found that the overall advertising environment has gradually improved in various dimensions. However, invalid traffic remains an important area to watch in digital marketing.

AdMaster measured digital advertising campaigns for over one thousand advertisers in H1 2018, including those from FMCG, baby & mom, auto, F&B, finance, and internet industries. AdMaster’s data indicates that invalid traffic made up 28.8% of total advertising traffic in H1 2018 compared to 29.6% in H1 2017 and 30.4% in H1 2016. Even though the proportion of invalid traffic has slightly decreased each year, the situation remains serious.

Transparency in advertising, invalid traffic, and brand safety have become important, visible issues in the industry as of mid-2018. AdMaster is dedicated to comprehensively analyzing and understanding invalid traffic. Since 2016, AdMaster has released semi-annual white papers on invalid traffic, with the H1 2018 “Invalid Traffic White Paper” being the fifth such paper to be produced. Through these reports, AdMaster aims to help brands and other members of the industry understand the state of invalid traffic. It has also invested extensive effort into developing a series of holistic, in-depth, multi-aspect invalid traffic solutions that target different types of traffic fraud.

Based on MRC and CMAC industry standards, AdMaster’s H1 2018 “Invalid Traffic White Paper” (Vol. V) analyzes GIVT (General Invalid Traffic), SIVT (Sophisticated Invalid Traffic), low-quality traffic caused by advertisement viewability issues, invalid video traffic, and invalid CTV traffic. It also provides solutions to address these various issues.

AdMaster’s data indicates that IVT (invalid traffic) made up 28.8% of all traffic in H1 2018, less than both H1 2017 and H1 2016. Data from CTV ads measured through C2S (Client-to-Server) API shows that 8.9% of CTV traffic was invalid, which is again less than H1 2017. GIVT averaged 2.1% in H1 2018, slightly lower than 2.2% in 2017. Meanwhile, SIVT remains a major issue and needs further industry action.

AdMaster’s refined invalid traffic identification technology shows the following findings about IVT in Jan-June 2018.

- Overall analysis: 28.8% of traffic in H1 2018 was invalid compared to 29.6% in H1 2017 and 30.4% in H1 2016. The amount of invalid traffic has steadily decreased each year.

Monthly IVT in Jan-June 2018 has decreased compared to the same period in 2017 overall. While IVT in Jan and June (where IVT peaked in previous years) decreased in 2018, March, April, and May IVT rates were slightly higher than in 2017.

- By media type: vertical media continues to have the highest IVT percentage. IVT percentage rankings of other media types remain unchanged as well, though IVT has decreased slightly for each.

- By vertical site: women, baby & mom, and auto remain the top three in IVT percentage. IVT percentage in auto vertical sites have increased each year, while IVT percentage in every other vertical site has decreased.

- By industry: IVT is severe in the auto industry and rising each year, nearly overtaking the FMCG industry. Compared to H1 2017, IVT percentages have decreased in every industry except auto.

- By device: PC again has the highest IVT percentage. Compared to H1 2017, invalid traffic has decreased in all devices (PC, mobile, and CTV).

As connected TV (CTV) advertising has developed and the number of advertisers has increased, so has IVT percentages on CTV. However, a growing number of CTV device manufacturers and media platforms are permitting third-party client-to-server (C2S) API monitoring in order to standardize advertisement monitoring and collection. CTV monitoring 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 C2S API monitoring of CTV traffic has found:

1) CTV IVT averaged 8.92% in H1 2018. Monthly IVT percentages are shown below. IVT was more severe in Q2.

2) AdMaster found a marked difference in invalid CTV traffic in different industries, which may be attributed to industries having different preferences in CTV advertising formats and channels. Finance/investment/banking brands were most affected by invalid traffic. Electronics/home appliance brands also had high IVT rates. F&B and internet brands were less affected.

- GIVT percentage: GIVT averaged 2.1% in H1 2018 in China, slightly lower than the average of 2.2% as of 2017/12/31. Mobile had the highest IVT rate, 2.7%, while PC has 1.9% and OTT had 0.7%.

AdMaster first proposed the concept of “Measurement+” in early 2018, asserting that the industry standard should be measurement of both quantity and quality. China’s digital advertising industry is calling for invalid traffic to be addressed and improving ad quality from the ground up. The CMAC (China Media Assessment Council) being established and MMA China releasing viewable impressions monitoring standards are both milestones in the industry’s development. AdMaster too has devoted its resources to studying and addressing IVT over the past three years and worked with leading enterprises and industry organizations to make digital marketing more transparent and help promote the industry’s healthy development.

AdMaster CEO Calvin Chan states: “Invalid traffic impacts both advertisers and media. It lowers traffic quality and affects effectiveness measurement and audience analytics. Fortunately, we’ve seen a decrease in invalid traffic in the China market over the last six months. In our work with advertisers, we’ve found that more and more of them are using GIVT as a standard metric in their digital advertising campaigns. We expect that advertisers in China will soon start to consider SIVT and other advertising quality evaluation standards (such as viewability and brand safety) as well. AdMaster looks forward to working with industry members from every link in the digital advertising chain to make our industry safer and healthier.”

Click “Read More” for the complete H1 2018 China Digital Advertising Market Invalid Traffic White Paper (Vol. V).