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Bot Filtering for Ads - How to remove Invalid Traffic (IVT)
Written by Roy
Sep 26, 2020 • 11 min read
GoogleBot crawls over the internet 24/7. While doing so, it also loads all ads it finds on your pages.
You don't want to count impressions or clicks made those bots, crawlers and spiders. Ad servers like AdGlare use bot filtering to remove invalid traffic from your reports.
Bot traffic accounts for more than 50% of all global internet traffic. An incredible number that can't be neglected. Unless you're running in-house campaigns, it's imperative that your ad server filters bot traffic to avoid report discrepancies and to keep the quality of your sold inventory high.
Half of all internet traffic comes from Bots
Although bot activity fluctuates over the years, we can't deny the huge impact that bots and spiders have on our analytical data. Back in 2016, Incapsula released a great infographic to give us an update on where we're heading. Bots are accounting for 51.8% of all internet traffic.
How does bot detection work?
Genuine bots and crawlers tell us who they are via the User-Agent string that is passed along with each HTTP request. This string will be matched against IAB's list of known bots and spiders to determine if we're dealing with human or non-human traffic. For example, Googlebot uses the following user agent string:Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
The Media Rating Council (MRC) has set a standard for detection and filtering of invalid traffic. If the ad serving engines receive a request from such a user agent, an advertisement will be returned but the impression or click will simply not be logged. AdGlare uses this method to make sure page layout remains the same whether a bot or a human visits the page. This is important to let Google determine which content is above the fold - a significant factor in SEO.
What happens if I don't filter for bots?
In the online advertising industry, publishers are getting paid to show ads. Advertisers buy inventory to show ads to attract potential consumers, which are humans, not bots or automated scripts. As most inventory is sold on a CPM basis, it doesn't make sense to serve half of the campaign to non-human traffic.
If you don't filter for bots:
It's therefore common practice for advertisers to insist on filtering bots when closing a deal with a publisher or ad network.
The Complete Bot List of 2023
The Interactive Adertising Bureau (IAB) maintains a list of all known bots and spiders. Ad Tech companies like AdGlare can subscribe to this list to make sure we're all filtering the same type of bots. We're filtering for the following:
Analytics SEO Crawler
CSS Certificate Spider
Cc Cc Bot
CloudFlare AMP Fetcher
CloudFlare Always Online
Domain ReAnimator Bot
Facebook External Hit
Genieo Web Filter
Gluten Free Crawler
Gmail Image Proxy
Google PageSpeed Insights
Google Partner Monitoring
Google Structured Data Testing Tool
IIS Site Analysis
Larbin Web Crawler
Lets Encrypt Validation
Netcraft Survey Bot
PHP Server Monitor
RamblerMail Image Proxy
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Seznam Email Proxy
Site24x7 Website Monitoring
Skype URI Preview
Tiny Tiny RSS
UkrNet Mail Proxy
Visual Site Mapper Crawler
W3C CSS Validator
W3C I18N Checker
W3C Link Checker
W3C Markup Validation Service
W3C MobileOK Checker
W3C Unified Validator
Willow Internet Crawler
Yahoo Cache System
Yahoo Link Preview
Yottaa Site Monitor
How to enable Bot Filtering in AdGlare
It's highly recommended to enable bot filtering to minimize discrepancies with third-party ad servers, especially if you're a publisher. To do so, follow these steps:
Click Settings and then Global Settings
Click the Engine Nodes tab
Enable IVT & Bot Filtering
Filtering IP addresses from Malicious Networks
In addition to filtering invalid traffic from bots, you may also want to consider to filter requests made from known malicious networks. A quick search on Google can provide you with a list of IP addresses (likely CIDR notations) from networks known to be infected with software to automatically crawl pages to artificially inflate impressions. AdGlare can filter those impressions and clicks at two levels:
Note that IP filtering works slightly differently than described above. Instead of returning an ad, the engines will simply respond with 'no ads available' for requests made from those IP ranges. The end result is the same: these impressions and clicks are not logged whatsoever, keeping your statistical reports free of bot traffic.
More ways to increase inventory quality
Now you're on track to improve your CTR and the quality of your inventory, it's absolutely worth it to consider the following practices as well.
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