How Do Bots Really Affect You As A Marketer?

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In today's digital age, online advertising has become a channel for businesses to reach their target audience. However, marketers are facing a new challenge with the rise of automated software programs, namely bots.

While some may believe that bot traffic is not a significant issue, the truth is that it can have a considerable impact on your marketing campaigns. In this article, we will explore how bots affect marketers, why addressing this issue is crucial, and how you can identify if you’re experiencing one.

First off, what are bots?

A bot is an automated software program that is designed to perform specific tasks on the internet. Bots can be programmed to perform website crawling, content indexing, and many more that can benefit the user.

However, some bot traffic is actually malicious. These consist of bots that spread spam or viruses or those that impersonate human users to engage in fraudulent activities such as generating fake traffic or ad clicks.

Learn more: What is Invalid Traffic (IVT)? GIVT & SIVT Types and Solutions Explained

4 negative impacts of bots on marketers

As mentioned above, some bots can perform tasks that can be beneficial to the users. But now that we know what bots can do, let’s dig into the major negative impacts they can bring to marketers.

Lead Quality

Bots can generate fake leads, using fake email addresses, names, and other details. These leads appear to be genuine at first but in reality, they are just spamming your database with false information. 

Skewed data

Bots can also skew your data by inflating metrics such as website traffic, click-through rates, conversions, and more making it difficult to accurately measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

When data is skewed by bots, you are at risk of allocating resources to ineffective channels or campaigns. In the end, making decisions based on inaccurate data causes your campaigns to be targeted at the wrong audience.

Wasted resources

Bots can also waste your valuable resources in a variety of ways. You may spend valuable time and resources pinpointing bots and analyzing data, which diverts your focus from more productive activities. 

It’s not only marketing that also gets affected by bots. The sales team is also at risk of wasting their time trying to follow up on fake or irrelevant leads made by bots that will never convert. This can also cause disputes between the marketing and sales teams.

Lost revenue opportunities

Lastly, bots can have a significant negative impact in terms of lost revenue opportunities especially when you are running ad campaigns.

Marketers paying PPC campaigns expect their ads to be seen by their target audience who are potentially interested in their product. But when your ads are served to bots, you lose the chance to attract real, valid leads and opportunities that could have converted into revenue.

Since you are also charged per click, even if you are able to ask the ad network for a refund, you have already lost the opportunity to reach your target audience for the time the campaign is running as you’ve mostly spent your ad budget on these bots.

How to find out if you are getting bot attacks

Now that you know how bots can affect you, it’s time to talk about how to identify them.

There are several signs that can help you pinpoint whether or not you are getting attacked by bots on your website. Moreover, you can also identify these attacks without having to implement any sophisticated tools. So, here are some of the things to look out for:

Unusual Traffic Patterns

One of the usual signs of bot attacks is if you notice a sudden surge in traffic to your website. This is especially the case if it is coming from unusual sources or referrers.

Also, check your server logs to see unusual requests coming from a single IP address or multiple IP addresses. Bots often use automated scripts to flood your server with requests, so monitoring your server logs can help identify such patterns.

High Bounce Rates & Short Avg. Session Duration

High bounce rates can also be attributed to bot attacks. If you notice your visitors entering your website just loading the page and leaving without any form of interaction with your content, it may be a sign that your website is being accessed by bots. This is also the case for visits with short session durations. 

These bots would typically have close to 100% bounce rates and significantly short session duration. If you are using Google Analytics or any analytics tool that shows these metrics, that would be a good starting point in identifying whether you are getting bot traffic.

Lead Data Patterns

Your lead data also contain information that can help you identify bots. These bots can take multiple forms and behaviors that could mislead you into thinking they’re valid leads. While self-explanatory, if you start noticing an increase in the number of form submissions, especially if they are all repetitive or contain unusual or spammy content, this is a good indicator of bot activity. 

Using Hotjar, Mouseflow, and other behavioral analytics tools can also help show patterns of how these bots behave when accessing your website or trying to fill out your forms. 

Why you should consider implementing a click fraud detection tool

While you can identify bots through the methods provided above, this will take too much of your valuable resources especially if you are dealing with a big amount of data. 

Considering a click fraud protection tool can help identify bots by analyzing large volumes of data in real time and detecting anomalies in user behavior. For example, bots often generate clicks and impressions at a faster rate than real users, and they may visit the same website repeatedly or click on the same ad multiple times. 

By monitoring these patterns, click fraud protection tools can detect bot activity and even block them to avoid damage even before they strike. 

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