When it comes to digital advertising, there are many big players in the game. However, only some of them have a true understanding of how bots work and their impact on ad performance. This lack of knowledge often prevents marketers from making educated decisions about where they should allocate resources when optimizing campaigns for maximum ROI.
marketing analytics is a tool that helps companies understand their marketing performance. There are many ways to reduce bot influence on your marketing analytics, such as using the Google Analytics API.
According to a recent study of internet use, nonhuman sources accounted for nearly 48 percent of all traffic to hundreds of websites in the first quarter of 2016. Search engine crawlers crawling a site for Google, innocent scripts used to automate procedures, or more sinister hacker programs performing anything from click fraud to full-fledged cyberattacks might all be nonhuman visitors.
They aren’t human, no matter what they are. This is a difficulty for anybody trying to gather pure client metrics for a website.
The Big Bot Issue
Anyone who has spent time combing through website analytics services will find it absurd that bots and crawlers account for over half of all internet traffic. Most of these systems, such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, filter away recognized bot and crawler traffic before the number reaches the user, giving marketers and analysts incorrect impressions about the amount of nonhuman website traffic.
Bots and crawlers, by definition, are more active than people. Bots never sleep, and according to our own study, they generate 80 times more clicks and traffic than people. That implies that for every human click, a bot makes 80, greatly complicating the search for accurate data.
Bots nowadays are significantly more sophisticated than those of only a few years ago. They’re low-cost, computer-assisted devices that can imitate human behavior. They may now do more than just click scams; they can also comment on material, download software, retweet messages, and even buy things.
Modern bots are better at avoiding filters meant to pick out unnatural traffic, but they may still be found. Unfortunately, many ad networks, affiliates, and publishers are hesitant to remove bots from their reports since bigger numbers seem to be more appealing, which has a significant negative impact on advertising ROI.
Bots Behaving Inappropriately
The only advertising models that depend more heavily on the marketers’ own data than on the data of the advertising network or ad platform are cost per acquisition and cost per lead. Fake bot clicks and impressions inflate CPC and CPM figures, pushing up ad pricing and making advertiser confidence a scarce commodity.
Tying advertising campaigns to tangible business objectives, such as user acquisitions, form submissions, or actual conversions, is a better option to click- or impression-based campaigns since they are often provided by the advertiser and based on its own metrics. Various human verification techniques, including as CAPTCHAs, email validations, and credit card verification, are used in these conversion steps to reduce the probability of fraud.
Crawler and bot activity may use a lot of bandwidth, slow down a site, and even crash it in the case of a full-scale bot attack. If a page takes more than a few seconds to load, visitors will abandon the site before ever having a chance to browse it, make a purchase, or fill out a contact form, squandering the marketing expenditure that brought them there in the first place.
How to Survive the Bots
What can business owners do to fight back against bots and crawlers that distort internet usage and make it difficult to analyze web traffic?
1. Restrict their options.
Limit the openings via which bots may impact your site as your first line of protection. Adding CAPTCHAs to contact forms, asking users to log in to comment on your blog, gating your website partly or completely, or sending verification emails are all options. Make it difficult for bots to navigate your site.
2. Recognize the tells.
The majority of bots and crawlers are aware of tells. High bounce rates, a high volume of traffic from a single IP address, and an unusually large number of clicks and page views in a short period of time are all red flags. If you find a bot with these characteristics, ban it on an IP level, but be careful not to block one of the search crawlers that index your site, since your site’s visibility in organic search engine results is dependent on them.
3. Use rigorous KPIs when it comes to third-party activities.
Leads and sales produced, not generic impressions or clicks, should be used to evaluate the success of your marketing campaigns. These KPIs are more difficult to forge and give a subset of data that is more human than machine, particularly once bots’ access to your site is restricted.
4. Search for human data sets.
Based on the behavior of a human consumer panel, marketing analytics organizations may give web analytics and competitive information. For example, a negligent 0.02 percent of nonhuman devices are found in my company’s data panel, which we identify based on device and activity levels. Conduct research and contact a reputable source, then complement the information with your own to determine where inhuman activities are most prevalent.
5. Make the crawlers’ experience more bearable.
This strategy is divisive, as search engines prefer that developers treat crawlers like humans for optimal indexing, but limiting crawler access reduces the bandwidth allotted to their activities and can speed up site load time for real users. Don’t let a rival steal your customers because your pages take too long to load.
6. Add your own tracking to the mix.
Supplement third-party monitoring with your own, then discover and discuss any inconsistencies to the providers. Ad networks and affiliates typically make decisions based on their own reporting, but embedding your own tracker/pixel/cookie into the site or basing your commercial relationship on actions for which you have more data (like leads and actual sales) can result in a more mutually beneficial relationship.
Don’t be deceived by bots and crawlers that distort your statistics. To guarantee that the metrics you’re getting are the ones you need, take measures, do thorough analysis, and respond quickly.