How can bot traffic affect your affiliate marketing campaigns?

Imperva – a recognized leader in cybersecurity solutions – has recently published a very interesting report analyzing the amount of bad bot traffic and how it has increased in 2020, mentioning it reached nearly a quarter (24.1%) of the overall internet traffic. Furthermore, the real human traffic holds “only” 62.8% of the overall traffic, clearly showing that malicious traffic has a huge impact over the internet.

What is this bot traffic?

Bot traffic is the traffic generated by programs or scripts instead of humans, emulating human behavior, and completing various tasks over the internet. Bots have initially been designed to perform repetitive and time-consuming tasks in an automated way. The more advanced bots use artificial intelligence allowing them to observe and learn user behavior patterns, thus increasing their efficiency and “intelligence”. Bots follow rules set by programmers, using a bot-building platform.

As it often happens, a technology that was initially designed to help humans automate routine and tedious tasks, has also started to be used with malicious intent, like for example to run ad fraud, to scrape links, content, and much more.

So, are all bots bad?

Not at all! Some of them are indeed very useful as they make human life easier and perform tasks that are time-consuming and mundane. To give you an example, bots can be used for website monitoring, indexing, content retrieving, data aggregation, and even for online transactions. One of the most famous types of good bots are the Chatbots that allow companies to interact with their customers the moment they visit their websites. A powerful Chatbot has the ability to establish an emotional connection and engage users by pushing long and meaningful conversations. Unlike humans, bots are available 24/7, waiting patiently for the potential customer to reach the website, answering questions, and performing repetitive tasks automatically and tirelessly. Chatbots allow companies to save money and provide high support to their clients along the way.

So who are the bad guys in the business?

Bad bots are bots that are programmed to perform a variety of malicious acts. They mostly work in an evasive manner and are used by fraudsters in their illegal activities. When talking about the affiliate industry, bad bots a tasked to generate fake ad impressions, fraudulent clicks, or even fake in-app user engagement. More sophisticated bots can even fake purchases and generate conversions without end user’s knowledge.

How can bad bots affect my affiliate business?

Bad bots have the ability to affect online businesses and websites in multiple ways. For example, they can steal valuable data, perform web scraping, post phishing links or spam comments, contribute to DDOs attacks, or even damage a website SEO.

If you are active in the affiliate marketing industry and buy traffic, purchasing traffic generated by bots might lead to revenue loss as you might be buying low-quality fraudulent traffic that won’t convert. HINT: Bot traffic is usually cheap!

Another repercussion of fraudulent traffic is negative customer feedback about spam links or poor UX or, even worse, content or data being stolen leading to legal actions. In any case, sending fraudulent traffic to advertisers will result in loss of trust, which in turn will put your revenues at risk.

How can I recognize if part of my traffic is bot traffic?

When it comes to assessing your traffic quality, the first thing to look at is its performance. If you notice an unusual increase in traffic generating almost zero sales, there’s a high chance it’s bot traffic.

Another indicator of bot traffic is the time spent on your landing page. Real users spend more time on pages than bots, so you will see an increase in bounce rates.

One more important thing to look at is referral traffic. If you notice a sudden increase in visits from sites that are not visiting your website “organically” every day, there’s a chance it’s bot traffic.

How can I protect my business from bot traffic?

Distinguishing bot traffic from real human traffic is not an easy process. The more “intelligent” bots copy human behavior in such an indistinguishable way that it’s almost impossible to detect without a truly expert bot detection know-how. Bot technology is improving every day creating and applying new techniques, making it difficult for anti-fraud solutions to radar and block them. That said, fraudsters are not the only ones staying up-to-date and creating new technologies, so are the good guys. Developers are working hard in different directions to outsmart the fraudsters by creating intelligent and sophisticated software aimed to provide a high level of protection and security to your online business and website.

Monitoring your business daily as well as using an anti-fraud tool are some of the basic steps needed to protect your affiliate business and campaigns from bot traffic.

What is vene dash solution against bot traffic?

vene dash is an all-in-one tracking platform offering an integrated fraud protection solution powered by vene overwatch – an industry-standard in fighting fraud. Bot detection and blocking are some of the strategies designed to fight fraud. By activating this strategy, you can either completely block bot traffic and redirect it to an exit URL so that it never reaches your offers, or flag it as fraudulent, in order to further monitor and block it if needed afterwards. vene dash provides you with all necessary tools, information, and reporting allowing you to make informed decisions on how to handle your traffic.

Another important point worth mentioning is that vene dash works with conversion-based pricing, meaning our users are charged based on conversions generated per month and not on the amount of traffic going through the platform. That said, it’s still advisable to block fraudulent traffic to avoid advertiser complaints.

If you are interested in finding out more about bot traffic or other fraud strategies and the tools that vene dash is providing, feel free to contact our vene dash team at info@venedash.io