Invalid traffic refers to any traffic that does not come from real human users, but rather from automated sources, such as bots or click farms. Invalid traffic can have a significant impact on businesses, both in terms of financial loss and damage to reputation.
Let’s look at some real-world examples of invalid traffic and its impact on businesses.
Ad fraud occurs when bots or other automated sources generate fake clicks on online ads, leading to inflated click-through rates (CTR) and ultimately, increased costs for the advertiser. In 2019, a mobile ad fraud scheme called "DrainerBot" was discovered, which infected Android devices with malware to generate fake ad clicks. This resulted in over 10 million dollars in losses for advertisers.
Click farms are groups of individuals who are paid to click on online ads or engage with social media posts. This artificially inflates engagement metrics and can lead to brands paying for engagement that is not genuine.
Bot traffic can be used to artificially inflate website traffic, which can lead to inflated advertising revenue for the website owner. However, it can also result in skewed analytics and inaccurate data for businesses, which can lead to poor decision making. The cost of bot traffic is predicted to reach $100 billion in 2023.
Affiliate fraud occurs when affiliates use invalid traffic to generate commissions on sales or leads. This can be done through bots or click farms, or by incentivizing users to engage with ads or offers in an illegitimate way. In 2020, a major affiliate fraud scheme was uncovered, where affiliates were using bots and fake identities to generate commissions on fake leads, resulting in millions of dollars in losses for the companies involved.
Ad fraud is a pervasive problem that affects businesses of all sizes, from small startups to multinational corporations. It doesn't discriminate based on the size or industry of a business, and the consequences can be severe regardless of how large or small the company is.
Let’s take a look at the damage ad fraud has caused for worldwide business, Uber, as well as marketing agency, MJB Marketing, and see if there are any similarities.
Uber discovered ad fraud through investigations that revealed evidence of fake apps, phantom clicks, and bots. Kevin Frisch, the former head of performance marketing and CRM at Uber, led the investigation and found that attribution fraud had eaten up around $100 million of their $150 million online ad budget.
Frisch and his team used a variety of tools to monitor Uber's ad campaigns and track the performance of their ads. They noticed that some of the metrics didn't add up and seemed to be inflated, suggesting that the ads were not reaching the intended audience.
Further investigations revealed that some of the clicks on their ads were coming from fake apps and bots, rather than from real people. These fake clicks artificially boosted the performance metrics of the ads, leading Uber to believe that their campaigns were more successful than they actually were.
Once Uber discovered the extent of the ad fraud, they took legal action against Fetch Media, an ad agency that they had worked with, to answer allegations of ad fraud. Uber also issued a second lawsuit against five ad networks, accusing them of purchasing nonexistent, nonviewable, or fraudulent advertising.
Through these investigations and legal actions, Uber was able to identify the sources of ad fraud and take steps to prevent it from happening in the future. They also learned that by cutting their ad spend by two-thirds due to ad fraud, they saw no change in the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns.
This experience highlights the need for businesses to remain vigilant and take steps to combat ad fraud in the digital advertising industry.
Matthew Beucler is the owner of MJB Marketing, an agency that specializes in lead generation, particularly in the medical, legal, and travel spaces.
The lead generation space is highly competitive and fraught with fraud. It is essential to use reliable software and tactics to ensure that the leads generated are valid and not fraudulent. MJB Marketing chose to work with Spider AF due to the ease of integration, its powerful performance, and the ability to remove a significant variable from the KPIs.
MJB Marketing recently implemented Spider AF to help detect and block ad fraud in their lead generation campaigns. The results have been nothing short of impressive.
Using Spider AF, they were able to track and improve key metrics, resulting in a significant reduction in ad fraud. While they could not provide specific numbers, they emphasized the importance of keeping out spoofed devices and other problematic sources, noting that using Spider AF is critical for running a large ad account in the lead generation space.
In addition to the positive results, MJB Marketing was also impressed with the support provided by the Spider AF team. They noted that support was great, and they particularly appreciated the ease of communication through Slack. You can read more about the work Spider AF has done for MJB Marketing here.
Examining real-world examples can provide concrete evidence of the importance of protecting businesses from ad fraud, regardless of their size.
For instance, as we saw in the case of Uber, ad fraud can result in significant financial losses and damage to a company's reputation. This highlights the need for all businesses to prioritize ad fraud prevention measures.
As we saw with MJB Marketing, Spider AF, as a leading ad fraud detection and prevention solution, is uniquely equipped to help businesses of all sizes safeguard their advertising campaigns against fraudulent activities.
With its advanced technology and expertise, Spider AF can provide comprehensive protection against ad fraud, ensuring that businesses can maximize the effectiveness of their ad spend and minimize their risks. Try it for free today.
Get a taste of our premium features for 14 days or get started right away with our Free Plan.