Is Fake Website Traffic Becoming a Problem?

Is Fake Website Traffic Becoming a Problem?
According to a recent study by CHEQ (a marketing security company that gathered data from over 12,000 customers), an astounding 27% of website traffic is fake. Unfortunately, this means botnets, data centers, automation tools, scrapers, crawlers, proxies, click farms, and fraudsters are causing a massive problem in the digital marketing world.

By show of hands (that’s right, we’re watching you right now), who has received a fake lead through their website's submission form or directly to your business's email? You think, "Great, a lead and potential new customer!" But when you reply back to the lead hoping to close the deal, the email is returned as undeliverable, or the phone number you tried calling back doesn't work. After that, you’ll probably do some research into the lead or company and realize it's a fake. All business owners have encountered this, or will encounter it at some point.

Take a Peek at This Prime Example of Fake Traffic:: Advertising Interception - 17 billion Super Bowl online ad views came from bots and fake users.

This is a problem no digital marketing agency can ignore, and it will likely only get worse as spammers, bots, and hackers grow in proficiency and skills.

For the digital marketing client, this leads to an important question: Are paid marketers who have no security 'wasting' hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on fraudulent clicks? The answer could be yes! CHEQ estimates an astonishing $42 billion (or 2 weeks pay for our GM) is lost every year due to click fraud/farms, bots, and, believe it or not, even competitors - performing click fraud on ads and spending their competitor's ad budget dishonestly by purposely clicking on a ads to prompt spend.

Fake Users Polluting Your Audience

One very effective way to market nowadays is by targeting a very specific audience via a 'smart campaign'. Audiences allows you to target prospective customers based on who has shown an interest in your service, product, company, etc. Fake traffic is beginning to throw a wrench in this type of marketing though. The problem occurs when there are too many bots/fake users and they begin to take over and become the majority of an audience. The smart campaign will optimize the campaign for the fake audience/traffic. As you can guess, this creates an enormous problem related to wasted advertising spend. However, there are marketing security measures that can be put into place to circumvent such concerns.

Bad Data = No Bueno

Another reason click-fraud is throwing some marketers for a loop is they’re now having to parse through bad quality data. Quality data is critical to a digital marketer, especially when it comes to PPC/SEM. It's not conducive to our management or the client’s ads if we're directly spending money on fake traffic and pulling inaccurate data. Data is how we implement performant optimization of an ad account, campaign, ad copy, ad creative, our landing pages, audiences, targeting, and more. If that data is skewed or misrepresentative of actual ad performance, it creates a massive problem.

As digital marketers, we all want budget efficiency, better leads, and higher revenue for our clients. This is the backbone of our industry. Clients want more business; ads can help attract it. But if the setup is attracting bots and the like, rather than converting clients/leads, the account provides no value.

If you're doing digital marketing for yourself or clients, you owe it to them to have some kind of marketing security in place to combat these issues. There are several quality companies out there offering security for your marketing. Some are better than offers and it comes down to preference. Do some due diligence in selecting which marketing security company/software would be right for your business or agency. If you’re short on time, we recommend checking out the following platforms: