Does your company utilise pay-per-click advertising - placing your company logo or adverts on other sites to generate click-throughs and drive people to your website?

If you do, you are likely paying for clicks made by bots (automated programs) and not humans. According to The Association of National Advertisers, globally this is a $7.2bn fraud industry - already equating to 10% of digital advertising spend and growing.

What is it?
Very simply, fraudsters set-up a spam web-site(s) then use bots to click on your adverts using different user IP addresses.

A single network, closed-down in December 2016, had access to over 500,000 IP address, used these to make 300m automated clicks/impressions and generated revenues of up to $5m PER DAY.

What can you do;
Using a web analytics tool (Google analytics for example), there are three initial analytics steps;

  1. Investigate referring domains - less advanced fraudsters will use the same source domain to drive traffic to your web-site
  2. Review usage metrics - more sophisticated fraudsters change the source domain. Next check is the behaviour when the ‘user’ reachers your site. A ‘0 seconds’ visit-duration should set-off alarm bells
  3. Review scrolling metrics - very intelligent bots click links on your site and view 2 or 3 pages but rarely have the capability to scroll around a page - whereas human tend to scroll showing genuine users. ‘User scroll’ analysis will highlight likely fake traffic.

Ad fraud is a costly problem and the analytical methods to discern real traffic from bot traffic are not difficult to implement and generate action points.

More details on this fraud can be found here