PureClick Gains MRC Accreditation For PPC Click Measurement Metrics

Company aims to bring new level of transparency to pay-per-click advertising.

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With bot fraud infiltrating every corner of the digital advertising landscape, ad tech companies have sprung up to try to combat it. PureClick is aiming to bring transparency to pay-per-click advertising and give PPC advertisers a transparent view of the traffic coming from Google, Bing and other networks. It also hopes to change (or start) the conversation between PPC advertisers and networks about paying only for human site traffic.

Today, PureClick announced it has received Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for its click forensics metrics that gauge whether traffic from paid search and display campaigns are valid — that the traffic is coming from humans rather than bots. It appears to mark the first MRC accreditation for metrics that measure post-click onsite behavior.

The accreditation applies to the company’s IAB Valid Clicks, IAB Valid Clicks Resolved, and PureCaptcha confirmed clicks metrics used in its PureCaptcha and PureBounce products.

“Our long-term goal is to introduce PPC 2.0, where advertisers only pay for real clicks from real people with intent,” said Simon Raab, co-founder of PureClick, in the announcement. “PureClick products deliver results that are illuminating and disruptive, necessitating the credibility provided by the detailed MRC accreditation process.”

The company’s PureBounce product measures time-to-bounce activity from clicks on paid search and display ads. It verifies whether the site was available and if the click stayed onsite a minimum of two seconds.

PureCaptcha presents a “welcome” window after the ad click. Users click on a green check mark on the window to resolve at the landing page.

“PureClick’s PureCaptcha approach takes confirmation of click activity to another level,” George W. Ivie, executive director and CEO of MRC, explained, “in that users actually confirm the intent of their original clicks, thereby providing advertisers with greater assurance that their click investments are going to an active and engaged audience.”

The robust captcha technology is bot-proof explains Rodgers because non-human traffic can’t manage past it without being caught. “We are trying to add a level of transparency that doesn’t exist in PPC advertising now.”

Rodgers shared some data with me about what they’ve seen from Google campaigns using their click forensics. On Google.com search traffic, they see a 99 percent resolution rate: ad traffic sticks around for a minimum of two seconds. In other words, the traffic displays some level of commercial intent. However, when search partner traffic is activated, the resolution rate drops by 25 percent.

In stark contrast, on Google.com traffic over 80 percent of clicks result in a captcha click, whereas on the Google Display Network that number drops to roughly 10 percent, according to Rodgers.

Asked about the cost of friction that comes with putting a barrier between the user and the page they intend to visit, co-founder Tim Rodgers told me that they’ve done a lot of testing to understand what kind of impediment the captcha window has on human traffic. Looking at bounce rate when the captcha is and isn’t presented, they found no difference in behaviors — meaning that the captcha isn’t shown to be a big deterrent for people that have commercial intent. “It takes longer to read an ad that it does to click on the captcha,” says Rodgers.

Patrick Tigue of Downtown Ecommerce, an firm that works with small and mid-sized businesses, has been working closely with PureClick and has made dramatic adjustments in their network allocations as a result. He says that they found as much as 60 percent of display traffic was junk and have stopped running display campaigns altogether, allocating spend elsewhere. “No one has challenged Google in this area,” he said, adding that the MRC accreditation “could be a paradigm shift.”

It’s one thing to have the data about click quality, it’s another to get networks to acknowledge third-party measurement much less offer refunds as a result. Tigue says those discussions have been a non-starter. With the MRC accreditation, PureClick’s longer-term goal is to get the networks to pay attention and to facilitate the conversation between advertisers and networks about paying only for valid clicks.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin was formerly Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day-to-day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin wrote about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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