Bot or Buyer? The Endless Frustration of Online Click Fraud

Bot or Buyer? The Endless Frustration of Online Click Fraud

A computer mouse clicking

Bot or Buyer? The Endless Frustration of Online Click Fraud For Businesses

Click fraud is the action of clicking on a digital ad, website, or some form of hyperlink to waste a company’s money. Typically carried out by bots, these users mimic human behavior to fool platforms and companies into thinking they are legitimate internet visits. 

As of 2022, 42% of total internet traffic are bots. Out of all this internet activity, 27.7% are from “bad” bots, which can drive up company costs, deliver malware, or hack for personal information. 

These bots are bad news for marketers – because they can drain a marketing budget and destroy a carefully crafted digital marketing strategy. 

Three Types of Click Fraud

Many types of click fraud bots exist everywhere on the internet in the present day. While Google and other advertising platforms will attempt to regulate this occurrence, there is no question that these bots are slowly learning and adapting to new changes. 

  1. Competitor Click Fraud

Arguably one of the most common forms of click fraud, competitor click fraud deals with bots that repeatedly click on a digital ad with the goal of wasting a competitor’s money. Every time a user clicks on an ad online, the respective company must pay a sum to the hosting advertising platform. 

Whether a user decides to buy a product or service is irrelevant. Many real users click on digital ads without spending their money every day. But what differs from these users and bots lies in their intention when clicking on the ad. 

When a bot (or person) repeatedly clicks on a digital ad, the advertiser is required to pay for each click made on the hosting platform. If done often enough, the advertiser could miss out on REAL customer clicks once their daily budget runs out. Their actions have purposefully wasted advertiser’s funds through their repeated online clicks, thus committing ad fraud. 

Related: The Competitive Side to Online Advertising

  1. Ad Fraud

Sometimes referred to as pay-per-click fraud, this user does not to waste an advertiser’s money, but rather earns money by hosting the advertiser’s ads on fraudulent websites. If a company pays a website owner to host an ad on their platform, the website owner earns money every time a website user clicks on an ad. 

To earn money, these web developers – or advertisers – will use click bots to appear as though the ad is receiving real user engagement. The advertiser will then pay the website a sum for each click, without knowing that these clicks are useless.

Related: The Truth About Online Data

  1. Bot Traffic

SEO is an essential skill for any rising digital marketer. Companies hire experts to optimize their website and boost organic traffic. A high rank for specific keywords is the goal for every company that operates online, since clicks from organic search results boosts brand recognition for minimal costs.

Bot traffic is especially troublesome for these marketers, because these bots can appear to boost website traffic over a period of time. A surge – or gradual increase – of internet activity could appear that a company is improving their SEO and relevant website content, when in reality the visits are inflated by online bots.

Fortunately, it appears that Google is quite aware that some companies are trying to boost their website traffic with bots (or tank their competitor’s SEO). According to Google Search Advocate John Meuller, bot traffic has no effect on Google search rank.

A Twitter conversation from April 2021.

User [redacted]: @JohnMu We are noticing a lot of bot traffic coming in and it's tagged under organic traffic, will this have an adverse any effect or does google ignore this.

John Mueller replying to [redacted]: That has no effect on Google Search.
John Mueller responds on Twitter regarding internet bot traffic.

But how can this fake traffic hurt the average business if it does not effect SEO?

Fraudulent marketing companies can use these bots on their client’s website to appear as boosted traffic. Clients will see this increase in website visits and incorrectly assume that it is from real users. It can be difficult for a client to discern real users from bot traffic, so this behavior is not always caught.

Related: Five Reasons Why Internet Users Block Digital Ads

Earn Real Customers with Direct Mail

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One of the advantages of direct mail is that YOU are in direct control of every mailer that delivers to customers.

There is no risk that your campaign letters will be viewed by bots –because there aren’t any! 

But starting a direct mail campaign is difficult for a company with no prior experience. How do you manage printing costs, postage, and delivery times? Not to mention the task of creating an ideal address list! 

That is where DK Solutions can help. Our TargetList methodology helps reduce mail volume for our clients by focusing solely on the highest quality prospects. With our help, your company can enjoy new leads every week thanks to our exclusive TargetList lead generation. 

Ready to start your own direct mail campaign? Contact us today to learn how your company can enjoy new leads with every campaign. Visit our blog to discover more about direct mail and how DK Solutions is revolutionizing the industry. 

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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