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How Paid Marketers Fight Fake Web

How Paid Marketers Fight Fake Web

Anyone who manages paid marketing channels knows the importance of being able to accurately report on metrics and KPIs. M

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Anyone who manages paid marketing channels knows the importance of being able to accurately report on metrics and KPIs. Marketers usually look to see if their campaigns drive traffic, conversions, and ultimately the pipeline for the go-to-market team. However, almost 40% of the Internet today consists of fake traffic, which directly affects the ability of marketers to do their jobs. When bots and fake users interact with paid marketing campaigns, they can reduce the effectiveness of almost every aspect of advertising.

First, when bots click on ads, the obvious downside is that they remove that portion of your CPC budget. But the harm doesn’t stop there, as it also shifts advertising spend away from potential customers. Additionally, if bots get infected with bots, smart audiences and campaigns can inadvertently encourage ads to remarket to additional fake users until they are completely unusable. Optimizations also become skewed as the pixels fire when fake users interact with campaigns, ultimately delegitimizing all performance metrics.

Fortunately, many paid marketers notice these issues, remain diligent and fight the fake web. In this article, we describe ways in which threats are identified and combated in order to increase the effectiveness of their campaigns and get the most out of their advertising spend.

Check timezone mismatch

When it comes to mobile and desktop devices, users can select the time zone declared in their settings. Typically, if the user is a legitimate person going about their daily life, they frequently choose the time zone in which they live and work, so that their declared time zone reflects reality. However, some malicious users may choose to advertise a different time zone than the one they’re actually in, appearing as if they’re in a time zone that a particular company typically operates in. The reason for this deception is to deceive that company into believing that it is a legitimate customer. One of the ways that savvy paid marketers snoop on this kind of suspicious activity is by checking the device’s declared timezone against the actual timezone of the device. If there is a mismatch, the user may hide their identity for malicious purposes.

Watch out for repetitive behaviors

Robots are programmed to perform the same actions over and over. Likewise, malicious human users usually engage in hacking and fraudulent activities in large quantities. Furthermore, and perhaps most disturbingly, bots are trying to make an entire network of bots look like a single user. That’s why, to protect their campaigns from planned attacks, paid marketers look for repetitive behaviors coming from the same IP address or from the same cookie user. Identifying recurring harmful behaviors can help these marketers stop attacks in their tracks.

Traffic anomaly analysis

Website traffic metrics from paid marketing campaigns can vary based on many naturally occurring factors such as the time of day, keyword strength, and the budget of the current particular campaign. For this reason, it can be tempting to overlook unusual increases in traffic from ad campaigns, and dismiss them as not a problem. But smart marketers know better. Unusual increases in website traffic on specific days, from areas outside of the targeted geographies, and unusually high bounce rates can all be indicators of a bot attack. By carefully analyzing all website visits, these marketers are able to quickly identify malicious activity affecting their campaigns.

Find user agent inconsistencies

User agents are the devices and mechanisms that a person uses to access the Internet. For example, someone’s user agent string could identify them as a tablet user running on Windows, and access the Internet via Google Chrome. All Internet users have a series of information about themselves like this, and most user agents have inappropriate qualities. But malicious users may try to manipulate their user agent to hide their true characteristics, so that they can more easily commit fraudulent activities while undetected. However, marketers who pay close attention to the user agents in their analytics platforms look for inconsistencies, and identify potential threats. For example, using an Apple device with Android software is almost impossible, so if something like this appears on the company’s analytics platform, there’s a good chance the user is manipulating their user agent for malicious purposes.

Reassess traffic sources

Paid marketers evaluate the sources that drive the most traffic to their sites to see if they align with the channels in which they invest the most. However, if a paid channel attracts a lot of traffic, but that traffic leads to unusually low conversion rates, something might be wrong. In order to determine whether affiliate programs, content promotions, and other paid platforms are sending bot traffic to their sites, paid marketers look closely at that traffic and check to see if behaviors across different channels are driving the same behaviors through the conversion funnel. They mainly look for anomalies and inconsistencies throughout the buyer’s journey, diving deeper to see if any inconsistencies could be caused by fake traffic.

go-to-market security deployment

As one can imagine, analyzing all this data as well as running paid marketing campaigns can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, there are security platforms available to the market that can step in and automate many of these processes. GTMSec is one of the fastest growing categories in cybersecurity, in large part because it’s designed to specifically address the issues that fake web creates for marketers and analysts. Rather than creating solutions for the IT department to protect against fraud, these GTMSec platforms speak the language of the marketer and can help prevent fraudulent activity from infecting their campaigns. With bots and fake users standing in the way of marketing goals, it makes sense for paid marketers to prioritize cybersecurity in order to achieve their goals and KPIs.


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About the author

CHEQ is the go-to market’s security suite, trusted by over 12,000 customers worldwide to protect their funnels, sites, and analytics from bots and fake users. Powered by award-winning cybersecurity technology, CHEQ offers the broadest suite of solutions to secure your entire funnel, from paid marketing to on-site conversion, data and analytics.

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