Report: Social media Invalid Traffic (IVT) on the rise

A new report suggests social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok may be struggling with invalid traffic, potentially impacting advertisers.

IVT can significantly impact advertisers
IVT can significantly impact advertisers

Pixalate this month published its May 2024 Global Social Media Invalid Traffic (IVT) Benchmarks Report. This report sheds light on estimated IVT rates within open programmatic advertising on various social media platforms for both web and mobile apps.

What is Invalid Traffic (IVT)?

Invalid Traffic (IVT) is a general term for web traffic that doesn't represent legitimate ad interactions. This can encompass a variety of activities, including:

  • Non-human traffic: Traffic generated by bots or automated scripts, rather than real people.
  • Click fraud: Malicious activity where individuals or groups click on ads repeatedly to inflate ad revenue or cost advertisers money.
  • Misrepresentation: Traffic that is misrepresented in terms of its source, location, or demographics.

IVT can significantly impact advertisers, as they end up paying for clicks or impressions that are not coming from genuine potential customers.

Pixalate's Report Methodology

Pixalate's data science team analyzed a massive dataset of 1.4 billion open programmatic ad transactions occurring between March and May 2024. This data originated from social media platforms including TikTok, Twitter/X (formerly known as Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WeChat, and LINE. By examining traffic referred from these platforms, the report estimates IVT rates across various social media channels.

Key Findings from the Report

The report highlights several key trends regarding IVT on social media platforms:

  • TikTok: Among mobile app traffic, TikTok exhibited the highest estimated IVT rate in May 2024 (18%). This figure also represents the most significant month-over-month increase, rising from 13% in April 2024.
  • WeChat: In April 2024, WeChat held the highest estimated IVT rate for mobile app traffic (11%). However, this number dipped slightly to 10% by May 2024.
  • Facebook: Facebook witnessed its highest estimated mobile app IVT rate in May 2024 (10%).
  • Reddit: On the web traffic side, Reddit saw its estimated IVT rate climb to 6% in May 2024, up from 3% in April 2024.
  • Twitter/X: While X (formerly Twitter) experienced its highest estimated mobile app IVT rate in March 2024 (7%),this figure declined to 5% by May 2024.
  • Instagram: Similarly, Instagram's estimated mobile app IVT rate peaked in April 2024 (8%) before dropping to 7% in May 2024.

Pixalate's report offers valuable insights for advertisers and publishers within the social media advertising landscape. Understanding estimated IVT rates allows advertisers to make informed decisions about their campaign budgets and target audiences. By being aware of platforms with potentially higher IVT, advertisers can allocate resources more effectively and potentially reduce wasted ad spend.

For publishers, the report serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining a high-quality advertising environment. By working with reputable ad partners and implementing robust anti-IVT measures, publishers can protect their credibility and ensure a better return on ad inventory for themselves.

It's important to acknowledge that Pixalate's report is based on its own estimations and methodologies. While the data provides valuable direction, it cannot be considered an absolute representation of IVT across social media platforms. The constantly evolving nature of IVT tactics also necessitates ongoing monitoring and adaptation of detection methods.

Pixalate's May 2024 Global Social Media Invalid Traffic Benchmarks Report highlights the prevalence of IVT within social media advertising. The report's findings provide a starting point for advertisers and publishers to make informed decisions and take steps to mitigate the impact of invalid traffic on their campaigns and platforms.

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