Five Signs of Ad Fraud in your Digital Marketing Campaigns

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Even the most clued up marketers sometimes look at their campaign results and think… “WTF is going on here?”. 

Numbers seemingly going in the right direction with few conversions to prove success. Spikes in traffic with no logical reason. Data blindness is a serious condition, and it can have grim symptoms including unoptimised ad spend, wasted budget, and lack of actionable insights.

Ad fraud is one of the most destructive causes of data blindness, wreaking havoc on your campaigns in plain sight. Unless you know what to look for 👀

Arm yourself with knowledge, and keep these five warning signs of ad fraud close at hand for when your campaign results don’t look right. If any of them look familiar, you may have a nasty case of bot-pox.

A quick recap: What is ad fraud and why should you care?

Ad fraud refers to the deliberate manipulation of digital advertising metrics in order to generate fraudulent revenue. The clicking criminals behind ad fraud can use a variety of methods to deceive advertisers, such as ad stacking, click farms, and cookie stuffing. Ad fraud can occur in any type of advertising campaign, including display advertising, social media advertising, and programmatic advertising.

The consequences of fraud can be huge on a company’s bottom line. Budget wasted on fraud leads to poor ROI of digital campaigns. Less budget, less reach, fewer leads, fewer sales. Way more unhappy marketers. 

As well as financial problems, ad fraud also pollutes data and makes optimisation efforts incredibly difficult. That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye out for these fraudulent effects 👇

Five warning signs of ad fraud in your campaigns

1. Suspicious traffic sources

Large amounts of traffic coming from suspicious sources, such as low-quality websites or IP addresses, is a big old 🚩. This traffic is likely to be generated by bots or click farms rather than genuine human users.

2. Unusual click patterns

Ad fraudsters often use bots to generate fake clicks. If you notice unusual click patterns, such as an unusually high number of clicks at specific times or on specific days, this could be a sign of ad fraud.

3. High click-through rates

While a high click-through rate (CTR) is usually good news to marketers, it can also be a warning sign of ad fraud. Fraudsters often use bots to generate fake clicks and inflate CTRs. So if your CTA is high but post-click events low, you’re probably experiencing fraud.

4. High bounce rates

High bounce rates are often a consequence of the above. Fraudsters often use bots to generate clicks that do not result in genuine engagement or conversions.

5. Abnormally high impressions

Another metric which doesn’t necessarily seem negative at first glance, until you see no subsequent engagement from a large number of impressions. Fraudsters can use tactics such as ad stacking to generate multiple impressions for a single ad, inflating the impression count.

“I have all those things! What can I do?!”

Sounds like it’s time you implemented an ad fraud prevention solution, we know a guy. 

By blocking sources of invalid and fraudulent traffic from interacting with your ads, you’ll mitigate the risk of metric mayhem. With cleaner traffic, you’ll receive better marketing outcomes from the same input as spend is never wasted on non-converting clicks and engagement.

One of our sports betting customers was achieving a high number of redemptions for a bonus campaign they were running, but were not getting conversions off the back of the campaign. You’ll never guess what was behind it… Luckily, the customer was smart enough to recognise the warning signs from their metrics, read the happy ending here.

Get started - it's free

You can set up a TrafficGuard account in minutes, so we’ll be protecting your campaigns before you can say ‘sky-high ROI’.

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