A common challenge for advertising platforms and their customers is to filter out automated activity on the internet that mimics human interaction with ads and their landing pages. Such activity that doesn’t represent real user interaction with your online assets is referred to as invalid traffic (IVT).
Unless campaign reporting tools scrub out a significant mass of IVT from CTRs, pageviews, and bounce rates, some ad campaign metrics can report distorted values. For example, if IVT clicks on an ad of your campaign represent a substantial amount of activity, then the Advertising Cloud dashboard could report an inflated CTR that doesn’t reflect the scale of human CTR.
Demandbase goes to great lengths to filter out as much IVT as possible. IVT of the most concern generally falls into one of three categories: creative validators, bots, and testing.
Demandbase’s supply-side partners, ad exchanges, and even Google Analytics deploy creative validators to crawl ads to check creatives for any malicious or erroneous code. Directly after your Advertising Cloud campaign is launched, our supply partners scan each creative asset for the required elements, a secure URL, and restricted content. The check also ensures HTML5 and video assets are coded correctly and the click-through stream functions correctly.
While validators can scan and test-click ad creatives on an ongoing basis, a surge in reported clicks and pageviews during the probationary validation period has the most potential to distort campaign metrics reported in the Advertising Cloud. Demandbase technology can by and large filter out creative validator IVT from the data reported on the Campaigns dashboard.
Important: Creative validators don’t generate ad impressions, so Demandbase doesn’t bill your company for this activity.
However, Demandbase can’t scrub out IVT from the reporting on a web analytics tool like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics.
Bots are automated scripts that mimic human activity on websites, and aren’t usually related to ensuring the legitimacy or integrity of your ads and websites. These bots don’t originate from supply-side partners. Demandbase aggressively attempts to remove bot activity from Advertising Cloud results. (The whole advertising industry continuously must confront ever-changing methods for bots to conceal their identity.) Bots can distort the bounce rate of your campaign as reported in Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and other web analytics tools.
A smaller percentage of IVT originates from people testing the ad creative before and during campaign launch–both Demandbase advertising staff and our customers. For example, Advertising Cloud users might do one or both of the following:
- Click on the ad creative in the Creative Library to preview its look.
- Click on a Demandbase-provided link at campaign launch that jumps to the ad and landing page to ensure that creative and web page appear as intended.
Filtering Out IVT from Advertising Analytics Tools
Important: To troubleshoot IVT results and high bounce rates in Google Analytics, see Troubleshoot Invalid Traffic and Bounce Rates in Google Analytics.
You can detect which visits to your ad and website came from IVT. Filtering your ad analytics results in this way enables you to review comparable data sets between the analytics tool and the Advertising Cloud.
To isolate creative validator and bot activity:
Use the query parameter x-bw-preview=1 to target the visits to the URL by a creative validator or bot. For example:
To isolate testing activity:
Run the query with the parameter db3id=0-0-0 to target the visits to the URL by people testing the ad creative before and at campaign launch. For example:
Tip: Query results that replace the zeroes with other numbers reflect activity from “real users.”