NEW YORK (September 28, 2012) – Solve Media today revealed that 10 percent of all online traffic is generated by bots – software applications that run automated processes across the Web. eMarketer predicts online display ad spend will reach $15.3 billion globally in 2012, which means that potentially $1.5 billion in ads will be served to bots. Since 2011, Solve Media has witnessed a 400 percent rise in aberrant traffic across registration, voting, commenting and contact services on the web. The company’s CAPTCHA-based advertising technology provides security authentication solutions for publishers.
Bots harm publishers by stealing content, posting inappropriate comments and creating fake user accounts that can be used to launch other bot attacks. Advertisers are also negatively impacted by bots through wasted time and money spent marketing to entities that will never become customers. Both advertisers and publishers risk their reputations when bots are active on web sites.
“By working with Solve Media, we’ve taken the necessary steps to stop bot traffic that targets Meredith through our contest and sweepstakes entries,” said Andy Wilson, SVP of Digital Marketing at Meredith Corp. “These actions ensure the most positive experience for our users and our advertisers.”
Solve Media reviewed a monthly average of 100 million identity authentications from all of 2011 to August 2012 across 5,000 publishers. Key findings include:
- The majority of bot traffic comes from the U.S. based on total numbers.
- Singapore (56 percent) and Taiwan (54 percent) had the highest percentage of bot traffic; in the U.S., bots are percent of total traffic.
- comScore observed that between 4 percent and 11 percent of ad impressions for given U.S. campaigns were delivered against bot traffic; web site security firm Incapsula estimates bot traffic to be 31 percent.
What Bots Do
Bots are computer programs that automate tasks, such as clicking on web page functionality or ads. When bots crowd web traffic, they cause advertisers to pay for impressions that are not being seen by human beings. Bots undermine the security of the web and cause harm by stealing publisher content, creating spam assets and posting inappropriate content.
“Security is a paramount concern for publishers and advertisers, as they continue to be victimized by bots. Publishers need rock-solid solutions to stop massive, global bot attacks that can happen at any time,” said Ari Jacoby, CEO of Solve Media. “Solve Media engineered its technology from the ground up with security at its core. No other ad technology company has the capabilities, experience and commitment we have to solving this problem.”
Jordan Rohan, Managing Director and Equity Research Analyst, Stifel Nicolaus and Co., added, “Bots present a much larger threat to display advertising than most advertisers understand. Solve Media addresses this problem head on through human authentication, while also providing an effective advertising platform.”
To protect against bots, advertisers should:
- Seek cost-per-engagement (CPE) media opportunities that demand human cognition.
- Embrace publishers that have proactively implemented an anti-bot solution.
- Demand third-party attitudinal research that confirms effectiveness of ads.
- Require site transparency on all network buys.
- Implement attribution tracking technology on all video buys.
“The existence of non-human traffic is an issue that affects the entire digital ad ecosystem,” said Kirby Winfield, SVP of Corporate Development, comScore. “comScore research has shown that a significant percentage of ad campaigns are delivered against non-human traffic, which represents waste for advertisers that can diminish their confidence in the medium. Any efforts to quantify the magnitude of this problem and validate ad delivery represent a step in the right direction for digital.”
About Solve Media
Solve Media was founded by veteran entrepreneurs and technologists focused on innovative Internet advertising solutions. The company’s proprietary online advertising platform, the TYPE-IN™, was designed to create new and highly effective opportunities for brands to advertise online. With the platform, Solve Media guarantees brand message delivery, brand lift and return on investment for advertisers. Additionally, the platform creates new revenue opportunities for publishers and saves time for consumers. Backed by First Round Capital, New Atlantic Ventures, AOL Ventures, BullpenCapital and prominent angel investors, Solve Media is based in New York City and Philadelphia.