Are Bots the #1 Traffic Source?Written by Pace Lattin
October 2, 2012 # 10:48 am # Marketing Insights, Specials # 5 Comments
Turns out that Bots might be causing a lot more damage to the online advertising industry than we thought. A recently study from Solve Media, which does captcha-based advertising solutions, claims that Bots are basically ruling the advertising world and causing havoc in CPC based campaigns.
Solve claims that $1.5B worth of traffic is nothing more than bots.
According to the folks at Solve, they have seen over a 400% rise in crappy traffic in the last 12 months, causing a huge upsurge in fake clicks and helping drive down ROI.
What’s worse, is their claims say that the majority of the Bot traffic comes from the US, and the highest percent of bad traffic is from Singapore and Taiwan. They say that 50% of all traffic from Singapore and Taiwan is fake.
The $1.5B number seems a little bit high, especially since the total amount of interactive advertising spend is estimated this year to be at $15B. That means that 10% of all clicks online are fraudulent? That seems a bit crazy, but let’s put this study in perspective:
1) Solve is providing a service that “catches” these bots, so they have incentive to purport that all traffic is bad.
2) They base this purely on their captcha solution, and estimated the 10% based on the amount of traffic they received. They have no idea how many clicks are actual fraudulent on real ads, just what they are stopping, catching.
3) Let’s assume that there are many, many fraud solutions already in place on the display side that catch these bots, remove fraudulent clicks anyway. We’ve already known of the problems.
4) Claiming 10% based on their catching is pure bullshit, because it assumed that no one else is catching the fraud as per #3.
So, are their problems? Of course – that’s why Performance Based and Affiliate Marketing programs are a great solution for companies looking for great ROI. However, for media buyers and affiliates, this should worry them, but perhaps no more than normal: look over your media buys, challenge bad traffic and ensure you are using platforms that do their best to catch fraud.