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17 May 2022
17 May 2022
Posted by TrafficGuard

Winning Strategies for PPC Campaigns in Sports Betting and Gaming: Stopping Bots and Increasing Campaign ROI

Sports betting and gaming companies face the same issue as other verticals, but the risk is even higher because of the vast amount of money involved. According to Statista, the global online market is anticipated to be valued at over $92.9 billion by 2023. This is reflected in the invalid traffic rates we see; while the invalid click rate across all industries is 17%, it is 28% for gambling companies.

Gambling companies running pay-per-click campaigns, when they pay for the ad every time it is clicked, are being targeted specifically, and are likely losing enormous amounts of money on wasted spend. It’s crucial marketers operating in this industry proactively put themselves ahead of the fraudsters with increased visibility, accurate analytics and real-time protection.

Higher Risks with Bigger Rewards

To understand how to protect your campaigns from such a high-stakes threat, it’s important to first establish why the stakes are so much higher in this vertical. Through our analysis, we’ve identified three distinct issues particular to online gambling that lead to this higher rate of invalid traffic:

High Acquisition Costs

Betting companies incur very high customer acquisition costs as they are bidding in a very competitive market with restricted targeting. Most betting companies invest large sums of money to secure the best advertising spots over competitors – meaning there is big money at stake.

Bonus Abuse

Free bonuses are a huge driver of new customer acquisition. However, they are also very attractive to fraudsters with automated bots developed to create fake accounts and steal bonuses. Sophisticated networks of bad actors can leverage millions of IPs to commit bonus fraud almost entirely undetected by betting companies, and they will keep coming back until they are stopped.

Paid Media Cannibalising Organic

When searching for the company, existing customers are using the brand search campaigns as a front door to its website - over and over again. These are customers that would have accessed your website regardless of the presence of an ad, resulting in a huge inefficiency in the advertising.

Whatever the cause, the result of invalid traffic is always inaccurate advertising results and wasted budget. In fact, over just one week, TrafficGuard found the following results for this gambling client:

  • 38% of all its clicks were invalid traffic.
  • This equated to approximately £18,934.57 wasted on invalid traffic (IVT).
  • This was 45% of their total spend during the same period.
  • 83% of invalid clicks were due to bots generating clicks on its ads.
  • Competitor brand keywords accounted for 39% of IVT cost, which was a clear indication of repeat clickers on that competitor brand search term.

Overall, when comparing the invalid traffic to the valid traffic during the course of the week there were 6,563 gross clicks delivering 128 conversions with a conversion rate of 1.95%, TrafficGuard identified that 2,498 of those 6,563 clicks were invalid and if prevented and replaced by valid traffic this would increase the conversion rate by 38.24%.

The key benefit of this audit to the client was significantly better visibility into the problem. The client may have been aware that invalid traffic existed within their results, but couldn’t see the exact breakdown in causes and IPs and therefore don’t know how to target the invalid traffic to eradicate it.

Similarly, a globally renowned online betting company was running a Google Ads campaign with a no-deposit bonus promotion to drive new acquisitions. In just one week using TrafficGuard, the client found that 23% of all traffic from the campaign was invalid. But, once protection and visibility were in place, the company saved a total of $115,000 in just 7 days using TrafficGuard. More on that here.

Creating a Targeted Strategy

By tackling invalid traffic, gambling companies could see savings at around 10% compared to the 3% potential savings seen across other verticals. Gambling companies must implement a strategy that is fit for the demands of their industry as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach many legacy partners offer. It is the only way to mitigate large-scale bot attacks.

With a clearer understanding of where invalid traffic is coming from, and why, betting companies running PPC campaigns can drive return on ad spend with greater conversions and confidence in the data and analytics they leverage as they scale. By getting ahead of the sources before it affects the budget businesses can avoid playing catchup and chasing lost revenue that is already in the hands of fraudsters.

We enable gambling companies to access better results for their PPC campaigns with a proactive, multipoint approach. If you’d like to know more, get in touch HERE


To see how we help augment MMP’s efforts, check out The TrafficGuard Difference.