One of the latest hot buttons in ad tech is bots. Bots are bad. They are web crawlers that disguise themselves as human-driven traffic when in actuality they are being driven by computers. Bots can download web pages and click on ads. When bots generate fake traffic to a site, it increases demand and the publisher generates more impressions. These additional impressions are sold by the botnet operators on ad exchanges at a higher rate. Botnet activity has gained so much attention that the IAB is now working to establish best practices to fight against non-human traffic.
Many platforms refrain from filtering out bots because they increase click and overly simple conversion rates. The process of blocking sites that contain bots is also manual, and therefore expensive.
Digilant actively protects our clients from wasting money and eroding brand equity by algorithmically evaluating sites to reduce the risk of fraud in our inventory. In addition to actively protecting against fraud we make our blacklist results available to our clients at the beginning of a campaign and we offer an additional layer of protection through our partnership with Integral Ad Science or any other ad verification partner.
A surprising outcome of our algorithms is the decision to blacklist, or block, YouTube inventory whenever it is sold by an unauthorized seller. Google only sells YouTube inventory through Google. Yet somehow YouTube inventory appears on almost every SSP. Most of the non-Google YouTube inventory is hijacked by browser plug-ins. Browser plug-ins stuff more ads into a page than Google does and also refreshes ads regularly while a user is watching a video. This behavior is an inferior environment for our advertiser’s and is therefore programmatically blocked by Digilant. If you’re buying inventory on YouTube and other popular domains, Digilant encourages you to examine the seller, so you can take proactive steps to protect your brand.