Although many businesses are unaware, a majority of users and traffic on the web is now made up of bots or fake users. It’s time to consider just how much of your marketing spend is being eaten by these bot zombies. And it’s not just your ad spend, fake users and fraudsters mess up your reporting and skew all of your stats.
Just as commerce anarchy is driving up costs for organizations selling products, fraudsters are contributing to inaccurate reporting and causing a cost explosion in performance marketing costs.
Click fraud is highest on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season as fraudsters seek to exploit the busiest times of the year to make money from business marketing spend. Here are three ways the bot zombies are affecting ecommerce.
1. Bad bots eat into your marketing spend
Current data from fraud0.com revealed that the average of 16% fake clicks on ads – click fraud – spikes to over 30% from mid-November onwards. Bot operators increase their activity exponentially around the holiday season. This means that marketing campaigns reach 30% fewer real consumers. Considering the price of performance marketing over the past years, this can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in lost budget every month.
2. Fraudulent users are swallowing up remarketing budgets
If the bots are decorating your marketing with thousands of fake clicks, you can be sure they are also embedding themselves in your remarketing lists. Bots no longer just store cookies, they are now able to pass as real users because they build and store entire browser histories. They actively consent to cookie banners being flagged for remarketing campaigns. The 30% of fake users then also make up a significant minority of your remarketing clicks.
3. Fraudsters are skewing reports and preventing optimization
It goes without saying that with the many fake clicks and visits from fake bots using fake browsing histories, your reporting can only be accurate according to the real users. But you have no way of telling the real users from the bot zombies apart.
Your data is spoiled. Anything up to 30% is no longer reliable. Considering the cost of clicks, and the relatively low rates of conversion, particularly in Display campaigns, knowing that up to 30% of your data is inaccurate during the holiday season can be fatal to your seasonal campaigns.
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