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Feb 17, 2014 9:56:22 AM

Bots, Fraud, and Digital Marketing

social media marketing - digital marketing

It’s no secret that there have been an increasing number of bots running about the internet in the past few years.

There are a multitude of different bots for different uses; some are used for web server analyses and file data gathering, utilized in applications for both home and business purposes. The problem is, the gathering of data has become both a help and a hindrance to digital marketers. Bots now comprise 61.5 percent of internet traffic, and because so, the majority of web traffic is now generated by bots instead of humans.

Seventy-five percent of the world now has access to the internet. Digital marketing has evolved to reach the many different kinds of markets through the use of online ads, but one of the biggest threats to online advertising is fraud. And the threat is not just that fraud exists, but that it is so easy to carry out.

With pay-per-click agreements set up by vendors who promise to deliver traffic to websites at low rates, studies have found that the majority of those clicks are coming from those data-gathering bots instead of who the websites are targeting. Invisible traffic and ad stacking are also perpetrators of this fraudulent traffic, which not only generates false ad impressions, but fake clicks as well.

CEO of Ziff Davis, Vivek Shah, commented on the matter, saying that fraudulent traffic tends to be monetized when the system focuses on ad performance over traffic sources. Digital advertising, he also says, is an incredible resource, but apparently has unintended consequences that companies must take the time to research.

Shah also issued a challenge to all sides of those involved in online advertising:

  • Publishers should sit down with their team to ensure that they are not buying suspect traffic, especially if there are any doubts or blind spots regarding traffic sources.
  • Buyers-including agencies, trading desks, re-targeters, and buying platforms-should not settle for high performance numbers that include a high number of bot traffic. While the numbers look great on paper, in the end it will only cause long-term damage and other complications.
  • To those that host the inventory, establishing listing standards will ensure that the quality and nature of the traffic is up to par with what they are expecting.

Source: https://technorati.com/business/article/ad-expert-36-of-ad-traffic/