Are You Paying for Bots? - eMarketer

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Are You Paying for Bots?

Video ads see highest percentage of bot traffic

December 31, 2014

How much money will you waste on bots next year? According to September 2014 research by White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), in 2015, global advertisers will lose $6.3 billion to bots—nonhuman traffic capable of consuming any digital content including text, video images, audio and more.

US Online Ad Traffic Served to Bots, by Type, Sep 2014 (% of total impressions monitored by White Ops)

The study found that bots weren’t too picky when it came to ad preferences. Video ads were the most likely to fall victim, with bots accounting for 23% of video impressions observed in the US. Retargeted ads came second, at 19%, followed by programmatic display (17%). Display ads didn’t miss out on the action either, with 11% of traffic served to bots.

Concerns about ad fraud are high for marketers and advertisers across the board. In a July 2014 study conducted by the Digital Place Based Advertising Association, 42.8% of US agency planners were highly concerned about digital ad fraud and viewability, and an additional 52.2% were somewhat concerned. August 2014 polling by found that 60% of US video buyers and 41% of sellers were worried about ad fraud such as bots and ad stacking, the second-highest response rates for each group. Fully 37% of US marketers surveyed by Marin Software in August 2014 were worried about click fraud and suspicious traffic in retargeting, and Chango research from September 2014 found that fraud was inhibiting programmatic usage for 47% of marketers in North America and the UK.

US Online Ad Traffic Served to Bots, by Domain Category, Sep 2014 (% of total impressions monitored by White Ops)

Beyond type, ANA and White Ops found that bots also affected a variety of industries, though the percentage range was wider here. Finance, family and food domains were the most susceptible to bots, with respective traffic rates coming in at 22%, 18% and 16%. Meanwhile, sport, science and information sites had the least bot action, with bots accounting for between 2% and 3% of traffic.

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