Click fraud - two words that cause immediate heartburn and a churning stomach in every advertiser - and when up to 50% of traffic could potentially be bot traffic, it's not hard to see why. But unfortunately click fraud isn't going away anytime soon. Fraudsters are continuing to up their game, creating more agile programs and human-like bots to get around safeguards.
Click fraud not only eats away at advertisers' budgets, it also hurts their reputation, which can cause them to lose business. This should raise concerns amongst PR, marketing, and social media professionals who have advertisers for clients - now click fraud is negatively affecting their PR and social strategies, too.
It's in agency professionals' best interest to help their clients mitigate the minefield that is click fraud.
1. Break down the negative ramifications of click fraud
Clients already know click fraud is bad. But when time is money, clients want to know why they need to spend time (and valuable resources) preventing click fraud.
PR and social media agency pros should be prepared to delve into the negative effects of fake traffic. They need to hit on how it drains budgets, and drive home how a solid cross platform advertising campaign means nothing when no one is actually seeing it. You may think sharing interactive mobile videos on social media is increasing your reach when really it's those pesky bots "watching."
2. Explain to clients how to identify click fraud
Unfortunately identifying click fraud isn't easy, but there are some tell-tale signs. For instance, traffic generally only spikes when something has gone viral. If a client's ad hasn't been picked up by different sources, then it's more likely that spike is a result of click fraud.
It's important to review anywhere the client has paid media efforts, including social media. Innocent campaigns meant to bring more 'links' or engagement might result in false traffic with no chance of conversions. Emphasize to clients that they should always be looking for discrepancies. If the numbers aren't lining up, it may be click fraud.
3. Give recommendations to clients on how to combat click fraud
Once clients are "ready for battle," agency pros can recommend ways for combating click fraud such as:
- Use a third-party traffic filtering to remove bad traffic before it moves onto the advertiser.
- Consider paying for ads based on viewable impressions to avoid social media click fraud (e.g. Facebook.)
- Monitor users' behavior (e.g. look for unusual spikes in traffic).
- Buy traffic from a reputable publisher, preferably one a client can talk to on the phone.
- Test traffic sources, making sure traffic is clean (and not fraud masking itself as high-performing traffic).
- Be proactive when addressing an anomaly. The longer a client waits, the more time (and money) they're wasting on potentially bad traffic that could end up depleting a budget.
Click fraud isn't just advertisers' problem, it's marketing agencies' across the spectrum problem, too. By providing click fraud counseling, a firm will be aiding in the fight against an ever growing problem. Hopefully clients will heed their advice, lessening their risk of fraud.