What They’re Saying About Sourced Traffic

May 31, 2016

By Bill Duggan

ANA recently released the white paper, “Sourced Traffic: Buyer Beware!” The concept of sourced traffic, or traffic sourcing (any method by which digital media sellers acquire visitors through third parties) is unique to digital advertising. Sourced traffic can be an efficient way to drive impressions and fulfill the requirements of a media buy. But sourced traffic has many issues — lack of transparency, high bot fraud, potentially lower-quality audiences, and media companies making money (undisclosed to the advertiser) via arbitraging the sourced traffic. Here’s what we’ve been hearing from members and industry leaders:

  • “I believe it’s important for marketers to understand how sourced traffic can erode the value of their media investments.”
  • “I don’t think the sellers are upfront about sourced traffic, and it’s not until we see our buy details do we see this happening. In many cases sourced traffic is littered with fraud.”
  • “Unfortunately, most publishers source traffic to fill IOs. Many have sourced traffic staff. My understanding is that publishers include sourced traffic in their deliveries without disclosure, e.g., what percentage of the impressions delivered were organic versus sourced.  Also, reporting on sourced traffic to measurement companies is not audited, and there are no hard and fast accounting rules on the topic. Similar to what is done in print, I would like to see a formal and required consistent reporting on and auditing of publishers’ statements of sourced traffic established in the industry.”
  • “With sourced traffic, you just don’t know what you’re getting.”

Let the buyer beware! More in the just-released ANA white paper.


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