Identify Proxies…Fight Click Fraud and Wasted Impressions

November 28, 2018

Today’s digital world has become a mass online universe that constantly challenges marketers to find new and innovative ways to reach what is often a faceless and geographically dispersed audience.

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that location provides valuable insight into what is typically an anonymous audience online. A plethora of contextual information can be gleaned from knowing internet users’ locations in order to make marketing messages more personalized.

However, a growing amount of internet traffic is being masked through proxies. For example, online users wanting to surf the web anonymously often use proxies that can provide them with a means to hide their IP address from the rest of the world. By connecting to the internet through proxies, a device’s IP address will not be shown but rather the IP of the proxy server. Whether used intentionally or unintentionally, proxies can significantly throw off targeted marketing campaigns.

The expanded availability of low-cost, IP-redirect options that run through geographically distributed hosting facilities have caused a proliferation of proxies. These include anonymizers, VPNs, and Tor services to name a few.

More Proxies Equals More Demand for IP-Based Data

A number of different proxies exist in today’s online world―for both legitimate and nefarious reasons. Detecting proxy traffic is an IP-based phenomenon. The presence and type of a proxy dictates how certain IP traffic is handled. For marketers, the ability to deploy technology that identifies and bypasses online users who may be masking their locations and digital personas means improvement in targeted campaign performance with fewer wasted impressions.

During the last year, we’ve seen a 25-to-50-percent increase in requests for proxy data. The demand is specifically coming from ad networks, analytics companies, video content providers, fraud-prevention solutions, and software providers with geographic rights restrictions.

For marketers, in particular, the inclusion of proxy information in their data arsenals works to improve efficiency and performance of content and message through: 1) Avoiding wasted impressions; 2) Fighting click fraud; and 3) Enhancing attribution and analytics. Recent research suggests that 28 percent of website traffic has shown strong “non-human signals.” Where there’s non-human traffic, there’s almost certainly ad fraud.

Proxy Data at Work

As we’ve discussed, relying on a proxy’s IP address location often leads to incorrect targeting and wasted impressions because the user is hiding his/her location behind a proxy. In the case of hosted or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, companies can utilize proxy data to combat malicious clicking that unnecessarily assesses charges to advertisers. Proxy information can also be incorporated into analytics to report on human versus non-human (i.e. invalid) ad traffic.

Several real-world examples of proxy data at work include:

AppsFlyer: The global leader in mobile attribution and marketing analytics, is proactively using proxy data to combat the real and growing problem of mobile ad fraud. It utilizes proxy data to give mobile marketers the clarity and confidence they need to optimize their campaigns and improve their overall performance by identifying responses from non-humans as well as uncovering uncertainties around their advertising traffic.

Sift: A mobile advertising technology provider utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning includes proxy information with a full geolocation data arsenal to improve efficiency and performance of clients’ advertising―helping them avoid wasted impressions and fight click fraud as well as enhance attribution and analytics.

Knowing more about where internet users are accurately coming from as well as how they connect will help marketers improve the monetization of their online advertising and content. Learn more here about the different types of proxies that could negatively impact your online advertising campaigns as well as best practices for selecting a proxy data provider.

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