Adsense Considers Traffic from Facebook Invalid

Beginning last month with Google’s new Adsense Transaction History, Adsense publishers now have much more visibility into how much Invalid Activity and Invalid Traffic that Adsense detects each day. I’m sure that many webmasters were probably alarmed at the amount of “invalid activity” in their Transaction History, but that activity has been there all along – Google is just now making it visible to us so it’s probably not worth getting too concerned over.

As I was obsessing over the Invalid Activity listed in my Transaction History, I began to notice a pattern. In September I ran Facebook Ads or Facebook Promoted Posts 7 times, all but one or two of those were for one day. Upon closer scrutiny of my Adsense Transaction History, I discovered that the days that Facebook Ads were used for driving traffic to one of my sites, Adsense reported invalid activity.

Wanting to test my theory that Adsense considers Facebook traffic invalid, I stopped all Facebook ads for several days. During that time Adsense reported zero invalid activity or invalid traffic.

After no invalid traffic for almost two weeks straight, created a new Facebook Promoted Post. The next day, Adsense reported “Invalid Traffic”. I stopped the Facebook promotion for 4 days, and again, no additional invalid activity or invalid traffic was reported.

I created a new promoted post, and after several hours something unusual happened. Instead of reporting invalid activity or traffic for that day, the dollar amount listed for the previous day’s invalid traffic (from several days earlier) increased. Again, I stopped the Facebook ads for 2 days and no more invalid traffic or activity was reported, but within hours of resuming my Facebook promotion, the dollar debit amount for that last reported Invalid Traffic (now on a date over a week old) began to increase again. i.e.; the last reported invalid traffic was on October 9, for $0.15 .. Each time I resumed my Facebook promotions, even though it was days later, that $0.15 on Oct. 9 increased by several dollars.

As a final test, I stopped the Facebook promotions again for 2 days. No more invalid traffic or activity was reported. Upon creating a new Facebook Promoted post, within about 8 hours, the previously day’s reported amount (October 9) for Invalid Traffic was again increased.

Total days in September and October running Facebook promotions: 8
% of days that Invalid Traffic or Invalid Activity Reported: 100%

Total days in September and October not running Facebook promotions: 40
% of days that Invalid Traffic or Invalid Activity Reported: 0%

From this testing and data I can only conclude that:
1) Adsense considers traffic from Facebook as invalid
2) Visitors from Facebook have a very high % of repeatedly clicking Adsense units
3) Google does not like Facebook very much

If you have noticed the same invalid traffic when running Facebook promotions or if you think my analysis, testing or conclusions are flawed or incorrect, please leave a comment.

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16 thoughts on “Adsense Considers Traffic from Facebook Invalid

  1. Just an update for those interested:
    I have a new website and sent the only traffic has been from Facebook. Put up some Adsense units for approximately one hour, and within 3 hours invalid traffic was reported.

  2. Great article. I’m guessing adsense considers facebook invalid traffic because that’s where people have friends. I guess google assumes that friends like to help out friends. Therefore, they may think that friends may click on their friends ads to help them out, and therefore get invalid clicks. While search engine traffic is more legit. People have to seek out that search term and there’s less chance a friend or family member would end up doing this.

    1. I dont make recommendations, i only report what I see. I’ve done more testing since this post and it looks like there is no issue with “regular” Facebook traffic, it was only from paid Facebook traffic.

      It may not be an issue at all, but I would keep and eye on your Adsense transaction history report where invalid activity and traffic is reported and go with your gut.

      1. Thanks for clearing out that little thing about regular traffic. I have struggled a year and had traffic from most other places, but not Facebook. Having a website that posts tricks and tips for a Facebook game, that bugged me a lot. Now I am finally getting the act together, found a partner with a well managed Facebook page for the same game and now have upped my Facebook Traffic from 500/day to 1500 day. =) This is nice. I wonder what 1000 Facebook visits actually is worth…..

    1. Lex, according to my understanding of Adsense’s policy on paid traffic (here: http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=48182) paid traffic is perfectly fine as long as the landing page meets the landing page guidelines (here: http://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2404197?hl=en-GB&from=46675&rd=1) – if you have a link to some other Adsense policy that disputes this, please post it!

      However because these Facebook ads sent traffic to my home page, which does not have adsense, the issue is moot. But it does look like if a visitor arrived at the home page, looked around, and clicked an ad, Adsense didnt like it.

  3. Bro theres an invalid traffic on my adsense .they debits 76.89 euro’s and my current payment gone from 76.89 to 2.44 euro’s. but i got the invalid traffic notification on 25th april but today is 28th and i’m still getting the same notification as 1st to 28th april debit 78.89 and credit 2.44. theres no increase of earning in my current balance but my monthly earning till 28th april has gone to 82 euros

  4. I was just banned for traffic from Facebook, and not the paid one, the regular one. Adsense reported invalid activity and they closed my account even though I haven’t used any forbidden technique. Now I investigate it and send appeal.

  5. I have placed an ad on Facebook for my Facebook page. The landing page of the advertisement is just the Facebook page and not my website. People reach my website from the page and not from the advertisement. Will that cause an issue? Do I need to bother?

    1. you don’t need to worry for that at all.

      If you use landing pages that have no AdSense, then it’s completely OK with Google TOS and AdSense won’t have any problem with your FB ad traffic.

  6. Not being banned from Google is “lucky”? People are still kowtowing to Google I see. This is just another clear indication that Google is out of control. That’s all this is. Who cares if Google bans you? If you want, it is very easy getting another AdSense account. Just set up a new Gmail account and use an Inc or LLC and use an employer ID number by getting one from IRS. Stop kowtowing to Google. Getting banned is no big tragedy.

  7. Please help me today when my current balance updated i have noticed some pennies just 0.37 $ of invalid activity debited will google adsense take any action on my account i am so worried what will they do now? And Thank u so much for you info yes u right adsense consider fb traffic as invaild

  8. Hello ,

    I just bought three pages having around 5 lakh likes so that I can redirect the traffic to my webiste .If what you guys are saying is right then can I do this ? Also I am seeing many site when checked having more than 50% traffic from facebook (got this using alexa) and still using adsense .Can some one help me clear this doubt .

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