Nearly 30% of ad traffic on Yandex and Opera browsers is bot-generated, a study reveals

Edward G. | November 3, 2022

With the last quarter of the year in motion, advertisers are frantically trying to spend all their ad budgets and meet their annual goals. However, many marketers run into the issue of fraudulent traffic, which generates clicks and spends their money, but brings no results. 

Threat actors use computer-generated bots to replicate the activities of actual customers and fool advertisers into paying for ad traffic. 

A variety of approaches are utilized to produce false traffic, such as infecting customers’ personal computers and mobile devices with malware that loads websites without their knowledge or even infecting cloud services. 

To get a clear view of the current ad fraud landscape, Fraudlogix, an advertising fraud prevention company, evaluated 42 billion ad impressions to determine the severity of the non-human or bot traffic problem in Q2 2022.

The findings reveal that, on average, 21% of traffic advertisers pay for is generated by computers and scripts, not real people. 

The most noteworthy finding is that certain browsers send through significantly more fraudulent traffic than others. 

For example, the highest percentage of illegitimate traffic comes through the Russia-based Yandex browser. The analysis reveals that nearly 1 in 3 ad impressions coming across Yandex were non-human.

The Opera browser is also one of the favorites for fraudulent traffic. Over 26% of ad traffic coming through the Opera search engine was labeled as “non-human”. 

Google Chrome (19.5%), Apple Safari (19.1%), and Microsoft Edge (17.9%) are relatively similar in terms of the percentage of bot traffic. 

Finally, the most favorable browser to target your ads towards is Mozilla Firefox, as only 13.5% of traffic coming through this browser was computer-generated. 

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Why it matters

Even though bots can take traffic on any browser, it is useful to see where the majority of the current non-human traffic comes from. 

In a year or so, the percentages and the “safest” browsers might shift significantly. The research only provides insight into the period they analyzed; it is not a prediction. 

The information presented helps educate marketers on the dangers that lurk online and simultaneously provides countermeasures.

Knowing which browsers send through the highest percentage of fraudulent traffic can save considerable amounts of money. 

The savings can be achieved by shifting your ad targeting towards a specific browser or by working together with an ad-fraud prevention company.

Marketers should monitor key performance metrics, collaborate with reputable publishers, and avoid being swayed by low-cost ad traffic.

An advertising company might promise and deliver a large volume of ad clicks for a relatively low price, but how many of them were real?

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Edward G.

Edward G.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. My mission is to scan the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape to inform the public about the latest threats.

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