Identifying Click Bot Traffic

Have you noticed that your advertisement budgets are draining faster than usual? Your conversions are down and you cannot figure out why? You are likely being targeted by click fraud, and possibly click bots. Fraudulent bots are the silent financial killers that are overwhelming online advertising. These bots surf the internet scraping data from thousands of web pages, gaining valuable information along the way. Bots can click on ads, both intentionally and by complete randomness. These clicks will never convert into paying customers which will deplete a large portion of an advertisement campaign in a short period of time.

All PPC ad campaigns must investigate if they are being affected by fraudulent clicks. To identify the severity of the issue, ad managers must first establish what a typical user looks like. What does the user behavior of a visitor that converts into a paying customer look like? Analyze the differences between your conversion cohort group and your visitors that do not convert. If you notice an unusual pattern, it is likely that you have a click bot problem. It is important to review your data and consult with a third party service if anything looks questionable.


What is a click bot?

A click bot is code that is designed to navigate the internet in a way that mimics organic user behavior. Bots are recognized as every non-human entity that visits your web page. They are scripted to automatically visit a particular site or range of sites. When the bot arrives on a web page they trigger a popup response, or are programmed to directly click on available advertisements, creating fake impressions. The traffic source is fooled by this interaction and charges your ad campaign for the click. These bot attacks increase spend on online ads, giving campaigns a false sense of performance. This traffic performance will create a high click through rate, because the click bot bounces from the page immediately. Therefore, an abnormally high click through rate is a good indicator that you are experiencing fraudulent click bot activity. Bots are becoming more sophisticated in their realism, but their creators are still rewarded for mass click volume in short time spans. This creates an average time per session divide between a low level bot click and an organic customer.


The War on Fraud

Click fraud is evolving and advertisers must adjust to this digital threat. There is too much money available online, that “playing dirty” carries an incentive worthy of being exploited. Competing businesses can use algorithmic methods to essentially attack their greatest adversaries. As Eli Martin describes in the Entrepreneur, “With the prospects of a high payout, low risk and relatively little effort needed, it’s easy to see why so many organized criminals are looking to profit from ad fraud.”

Bot rings have given birth to two separate industries. Those that commit the fraud and those that work to solve the problem. Millions of dollars are up for grabs and new nefarious methods will continue to be created. Anchor Intelligence identified a click fraud ring being run out of China. This bot ring involved over 200,000 different IP addresses and afflicted more than $3 million worth of fraudulent clicks across 2,000 advertisers in only two weeks. This type of concentrated effort is possible, and it is naive to believe that it cannot happen to you.

Advertisers need to start fighting fire with fire. Addressing this threat is impossible without using software to monitor traffic and and providing a real-time response to fraudulent activity. Cyber crime is global, and digital advertising is global. Your campaigns can be infected from bots created from all areas of the world. PPC protection is essential. To combat digital algorithmic attacks a campaign needs to be protected by its own form of artificial intelligence.


PPC Protect Against Click Bot Attacks

ClickCease integrates directly with your Google AdWords and Bing Ads accounts to track each and every click, collecting valuable data and gaining insight on the user behavior of your visitors. Once this information is collected, each click receives a score based on dozens of unique parameters. These advanced parameters enable them to catch more fraud than any other competing click-fraud software. ClickCease uses their industry leading algorithms to separate real potential customers from fraudsters and bots. Finally, the fraudulent IPs are automatically inputted into your AdWords IP exclusion list. This stops the bot from seeing your ad and causing further financial damage to your campaigns.

Bots are a large problem in today’s digital advertising industry. Taking a proactive approach to PPC protection is the only way to ensure that your ad campaigns are safe. All ad mangers should consult with third party software to determine how their traffic is being affected by bot activity. A third party expert will help you mitigate this problem by tracking and blocking the bad guys and empty clicks. ClickCease does a great job of identifying fraudulent activity and providing insight into the location, tactics and user behavior of every individual click. This software is crucial in combating an issue that is overwhelming the online advertisement industry and draining budgets.

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