Your holiday campaign insights, unwrapped

11/15 By John Bonanno

Here at Integral Ad Science, we’re crazy about digital ad effectiveness and media quality. Our analysts studied media quality trends over Q4 2015 to help the industry understand what to expect in the coming weeks as holiday advertising efforts ramp up.

Key takeaways

2016 Holiday campaign insights

Relative to October:

  • Impression volume increased ~33% in November and December.
  • Ad fraud increased 53-55% in November and December.

Impression volume

Average daily impressions

Average daily impressions:

  • October: 1.4 billion
  • November: 1.7 billion
  • December: 1.9 billion

Impression volume increased in advance of Black Friday and Christmas by around 33% overall, relative to October

  • It increased week over week leading up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday and the week before Christmas. 
  • Volume dropped the week of Christmas as it includes Christmas and Christmas Eve  – typically days of lower internet activity.
  • Highest peak the week before Christmas with a 47% increase relative to October – around 2,000,000,000 daily impressions

Ad fraud

Fraudsters took advantage of this increase in advertising activity, and we saw a corresponding increase in ad fraud over this same time period.

November fraud rate December fraud rate

  • The week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Nov 22-30), we saw a 53% increase relative to October.
  • Fraud was also higher in December relative to October, with a 55% increase during the week of Christmas.

Publisher direct vs. programmatic

Ad fraud was consistently lower for direct publishers over Q4 2015.

  • Ads served through direct publishers had between 4.0-4.5% fraud in November and December, whereas ads served programmatically saw between 5.8-5.9% fraud.


Heightened awareness is necessary when planning your holiday campaigns. Here are a few best practices to produce the most effective digital campaigns this season:

    • Enable blocking to filter out fraudulent impressions before they impact your campaigns.
    • Use pre-bid targeting segments for viewability and fraud to ensure you’re getting higher quality media in programmatic.
    • Learn more about ad fraud: download our comprehensive Ad Fraud 101 guide to fully understand how fraud works, and how we’re working to prevent it as an industry. 



  • Number of campaigns analyzed: 4000 campaigns from 400 advertisers
  • Impressions analyzed: 126,645,449,077
  • Time period: we compared daily advertising activity over the month of October 2015 to the months of November 2015 and December 2015, focusing specifically on the key advertising periods of Black Friday/Cyber Monday and end of year holiday shopping.