How Bounce Rates Are Linked to Advertising Fraud

While there has been much discussion about the correlation between bounce rates and SEO rankings, less has been said about whether higher bounce rates are indeed a sign of ad fraud.
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How much of their ad spend is wasted on bots remains elusive to many advertisers. Thus, asking whether higher bounce rates are indicative of fraud makes, to them, little sense. 

Unlike organic rankings, however, which can be regained with corrective measures, resources lost to ad fraud are lost forever — and the damages caused by it, irreparable. This article aims to shine a bright light on the issue. 

This article explores the following:

 ・How fraud in different forms of ads might inflate a websites bounce rate

 ・How ad fraud prevention tools could assist marketers and advertisers reduce bounce rates

 ・Factors to consider when assessing the cost of higher bounce rates on your business

How ad fraud can increase a website's bounce rate

Search Ads

A higher bounce rate could be a by-product of competitors invading your search ads. In most cases, the intention is to exhaust your daily spending limit before your targeted audience can see the value you're proposing in your ads. They also want to spike your cost per click (CPC) for the same keywords that you're competing for, allowing them to monopolize the keywords while denying you any useful exposure.  

Since these unethical businesses couldn’t care less about the content of your page, they most definitely click off as soon as a click is registered. For the same effect, they could write scripts themselves or outsource to click farms. In any case, this would increase a site's bounce rate.

Learn more: 9 Common Ad Fraud Methods and How to Deal with Them

Display Ads

For marketers running GDN ads, ad fraud affects their bounce rate differently. In the Google Display Network, fraudsters disregard Google's policies regarding fraudulent clicks, sneaking around to avoid being detected by Google's surveillance systems.

These bad actors employ sophisticated bots to click through an affected company's site. Because they could be using many bots that tick off several boxes and exit your site after having visited just that one page, your bounce rate is likely to rise through the roof.

Social Media Ads

In social media ads, paid sponsorships with local influencers could also result in a higher bounce rate for the sponsor's site. Social media users with thousands of followers might appear reliable to marketers and the public at large. However, plenty of their followers could be fake, and all engagement they might report may come from anything but real users

Those who pay these personalities for traffic might get a lot of it, but because the visitors are bots — bouncing off the landing page immediately — the company's bounce rate would invariably rise.

Implementing ad fraud prevention tools to reduce bounce rates

Advertising platforms — both web and social — would scream that their systems are impeccable when it comes to detecting invalid clicks on advertisers' ads. They will also claim that you won't be charged for those clicks and all the culprits will be banned. They might genuinely believe that, but the reality is that relying on these efforts to detect and stop fraud is simply unwise.

How do you solve this? The most effective solution is to integrate an ad fraud prevention tool into your marketing campaign. With Spider AF’s detection and prevention tool, all you need to do is place a tracking tag on your website. This will enable Spider AF to detect and report any invalid traffic on your site.

Our solution uses machine learning models to check against a variety of ad fraud blacklists. It then filters out unwanted, invalid and irrelevant visitors, keeping your inbound traffic hot. This ensures that your visitors are real users, and with highly relevant content on your site, the bounce rate should significantly drop. (Try Spider AF for 14 days free!)  

Learn more: 6 Benefits of Deploying an Ad Fraud Prevention Tool 

What is a healthy bounce rate?

While a high bounce rate is typically problematic, it isn't always as straightforward as it might seem. According to HubSpot, the average bounce rate for most websites ranges from 26% to 70%. On average, bounce rate for a B2B website is 56% and 45% for B2C websites. Even this range, however, varies across industries as well as the nuances in which each business operates.

There are times when a high bounce rate could mean that users are able to find what they want on your first page — which could explain why has a bounce rate of 77.31%. This especially applies to organic visitors landing on one of your blogs through search engines. 

Is recording a high bounce rate caused by such a phenomenon really that bad then? It depends on what you meant for the webpage to serve. This could be building trust with customers, creating awareness around an issue central to the company's vision or establishing authority in the industry, etc. Similarweb lets you track the bounce rates of your competitors to get a sense of the competitive landscape. Unless you run ads — in which case it is safe to assume that ad fraud is the culprit raising your bounce rate — it is a smart place to begin.

Related article: 11 Tips to Reduce Bounce Rate on Your Website 


If you run any form of online ads, ad fraud does much more damage than inflating a metric that may or may not affect your SEO rankings. Marketers should always be concerned about a high bounce rate, only relenting in the few cases where it is truly justified. Whilst bounce rate isn't always definitively a symptom of ad fraud, it's far better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, ad fraud prevention solutions do more than help reduce bounce rates and optimize ad spend. In addition to improving data collection, they also protect the brand's image, and generally streamline your marketing operations.

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