William Hill | Eliminating Bots For One Of Britain's Largest Betting Companies

March 31, 2023
Posted by
TrafficGuard

Winning Results With TrafficGuard: 

  • TrafficGuard's sophisticated tool detected over 43% of invalid traffic in our PPC funnel
  • William Hill had an average invalid cost rate of 18.3% for its overall spend.
  • William Hill’s ROI was 4.5 times what it would be without ad fraud protection. Invalid traffic decreased by 80% in the UK and internationally, with one UK Google Ads account seeing its invalid cost rate drop 94%. This saved the company 18.6% of its Google Ads budget. In comparison, the TrafficGuard fee was just 4.2% of its spend.

William Hill is one of Britain's largest betting company. It began its national operations in 1934, before branching out into international operations and becoming a truly global gaming business. It offers sports betting, online casino, online poker, and online bingo services to hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide.

To expand its user base, it was running sign-up bonus pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google Ads to push new customer acquisition. This was an important metric for the company, and with an understanding of the high numbers of invalid traffic in sports betting, it wanted to make sure it was getting the most for its investment. William Hill was looking for visibility across both its UK and international operations and a solution that covered all its campaigns.

The Battle With Bots

William Hill was struggling with a range of different bot types and traffic originating from IP addresses that were non-human. It faced invalid traffic which simply wanted to mimic human behaviour in order to go unnoticed when attempting more sophisticated fraud in the future and offered no long-term business value.

It was also dealing with more sophisticated bots that were programmed to claim bonuses. This was causing a major issue for the company because money was being directly stolen from the company by fraudsters, without any positive return or conversion to a paying customer.  

Another challenge for the organisation in addition to bots was abnormal levels of ad engagements from single devices. Although initially this was taken as a positive metric, it was ultimately from users repeatedly clicking on its paid search ads rather than using organic search results to reach its website. These users would have navigated to William Hill’s website without the paid ad, and therefore continuously used up the company’s paid marketing budgets while offering no new campaign value.  

When analysed, William Hill had an average invalid cost rate of 18.3% for its overall spend. It was investing millions that were being taken up by bots, accidental and poor-quality clicks. As a constantly moving threat, William Hill needed something more comprehensive to tackle the bots it faced, and chose TrafficGuard PPC Protect to boost its campaign optimisation.  

An Agile Approach to Fraud Protection

To eliminate the bot problem, TrafficGuard analysed the behaviour attributes of every single click and, in real-time, applied a score indicating click quality - from invalid to a high propensity to convert. Clicks originating from an IP that had multiple recent low scores were marked as invalid. These clicks were classified as bots or humans with no or poor propensity to convert.

By actively analysing ever-evolving threats, TrafficGuard could add low-scoring IPs to pre-bid exclusion lists and prevent further invalid traffic to minimise the threat. This enabled William Hill to proactively exclude non-human elements in its traffic and optimise and report on real data in its account.

TrafficGuard went one step further and actually developed a new feature that was implemented in order to mitigate bot attacks. It compiled IPs from the same range into one to block more invalid traffic, overcoming the Google Ads 500 IP limit. As a result, traffic was normalised and no bot attacks were seen in any of their accounts since.

With TrafficGuard, William Hill’s ROI was 4.5 times what it would be without ad fraud protection. Invalid traffic decreased by 80% in the UK and internationally, with one UK Google Ads account seeing its invalid cost rate drop 94%. This saved the company 18.6% of its Google Ads budget. In comparison, the TrafficGuard fee was just 4.2% of its spend. Not only was it paying for a product that increased conversion opportunities, but it was also making a tangible profit that far exceeded its expectations.  

Overcoming Invalid Traffic

As a multi-channel and international brand, William Hill required a solution that would go above and beyond to protect its paid search campaigns from the bots it was facing. By partnering with TrafficGuard, the bookmaker gained access to a fully automated service that saved both time and budget to streamline and enhance William Hill’s campaigns.  

TrafficGuard’s fraud prevention suite reliably identified sources of invalid traffic for the bookmaker, so it could direct its budget towards real users that have engaged with it, delivering significant ROI. By reaching real, genuine customers, William Hill could generate more revenue and continue as a respected leader in the market.

“In 2021, William Hill had some challenges with bonus abuse and suspected some invalid traffic in their PPC funnel. They decided to partner with TrafficGuard to undertake an audit of their Google Ads account.” Joe Tobin - Head of PPC, SEO & ASO, William Hill

The Solution

“We loved the detail that TrafficGuard went into to validate the high volume of detected 'bot' traffic. Not only did we see a big percentage of basic bots that were there to mimic human behaviour, but we also saw bots that were programmed to claim sign-up bonuses. TrafficGuard's sophisticated tool detected over 43% of invalid traffic in our PPC funnel. This was significantly higher than other rival companies that we spoke to.” Joe Tobin - Head of PPC, SEO & ASO, William Hill

The Outcome

“The value in TrafficGuard is not only to unlock real-time insights into what type of bots are attacking. They also helped us eliminate invalid traffic by using dynamic exclusion lists that can transgress from over 30 thousand IP addresses versus the 500 IP industry average.” Joe Tobin - Head of PPC, SEO & ASO, William Hill

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