Are You Buying Digital Ads for Humans or Bots?

Buying digital ads has solved a lot of problems for marketers. Digital advertising is cost-effective and has large potential reach. It allows you to specifically target your desired audience and it allows you to even purchase your desired number of impressions and traffic. We can even track how a user converts on our site from entry to purchase and use that data to tweak our marketing strategy. But in exchange for all these benefits digital advertising has created a new set of concerns for marketers, primarily the issue of ad fraud. Due to increased hacker cyber attacks marketers have to worry if their web traffic is real or fake.

Is Your Web Traffic Fake?

There’s a good chance some of it is. If your blogs or lead generation forms receive lots of spammy comments, then you’re probably getting some fake traffic to your website or landing pages. A study by the Association of National Advertisers in conjunction with ad fraud detection firm White Ops Inc. found that 23% of video ads received fraudulent traffic. They found 11% of display ads were also getting fraudulent traffic. While these numbers are staggering, they signal a growing problem expected to cost advertisers billions of dollars.

So if people aren’t viewing your ads, where are those views coming from? They are coming from bots. Bots, as defined by bot fraud agency BotWatch, are human directed computer programs. Now as marketers we use bots all the time to get marketing data for use in crafting our marketing strategies. Bots are used are all over the Internet to make your surfing easier. However, spammers can utilize similar technology to get information for identity theft and to spread computer virus, among other things.

It hurts advertisers because we rely on the data we get on visitors and traffic to our sites for business planning and marketing purposes. Additionally, the cost to advertise on sites where no real audience is seeing is an expensive waste of advertising dollars.

Buying Digital Ads? Here’s How to Identify Fake Traffic

Considerably more advertising trade associations are coming together to find some solutions. But in the meantime it is important that your company is monitoring the flow of traffic to their sites through their analytics programs. Google Analytics is a cheap option that can provide a lot of valuable information to identify bots and fight them. Here are a few more things you can do:

  • Check for traffic surges: Regularly monitor your site’s analytics to get a baseline for what amount of traffic is normal. That way should your ever experience an unexpectedly large increase in site visits you can begin researching the source and whether or not it is tied to a recent advertising campaign, press mention or endorsement or if it is something nefarious.
  • Beware of Ad Networks and Exchanges: Ad networks and exchanges have become an easy way to monetize excess ad inventory and/or buy space really inexpensively. It is also an easy way to get access to a lot of illegitimate and scam websites and traffic. Cheaper is not always better.
  • Don’t buy social media followers and likes: It’s really tempting for marketers to inflate their social media numbers with fake followers and likes. But you have to question where are these people coming from. The truth is they’re not people and they’re not coming from anywhere. You are not increasing your reach and viral possibilities you’re wasting your money.
  • Use WordPress Plugins: If you’re website or blog is on a WordPress platform one simple, inexpensive solution are WordPress plugins. Check out this blog post by WP Solver which provides a few suggestions for plug-ins that find fake traffic on your site.

How Can a Media Buyer Help?

Enlisting the assistance of a media buyer is another way to help decrease your chances of getting dinged by bad web traffic. Media buying agencies, like Capitol Media Solutions, are experienced in navigating the nuances of a constantly changing online ad buying environment. The cost to employ an agency to consult is typically offset by any potential losses that could occur from investing in and wasting money on fake traffic, false impressions, and scammy sites.

For more information on buying digital ads for your upcoming campaign, contact Capitol Media Solutions. Let our team of media strategists, customize a digital ad campaign that will reach your business goals.

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