July 25, 2016 | by Vuk Stan

Robotic Traffic's Affect On Click Fraud

These days, there's big money to be made by fraudulently clicking on online advertisements. Whether it's to attack a competitor's marketing budget, or to make it appear that a given publication is hugely successful at attracting visitors to the advertiser's website, it makes little difference to those affected.

 

The fact of the matter is that click fraud costs advertisers well into the billions annually, and this figure is increasing.

 

Why use robots?

With such high stakes involved, it is only natural that companies seek to stamp out fraudulent clicks. Successful identification and the blocking of fraudsters from seeing adverts is huge for a company's bottom line, so these days advertisers actively combat the perpetrators. This in turn has lead to an evolution in the tactics of the clickers. One such example is the use of bots to perform the clicks for them.

 

More efficient clicks

Click fraud bots are capable of producing many more clicks than their human counterparts. They can work without sleep, food, or pay, and therefore are a much more efficient option than the more traditional teams of low paid workers who used to perform the majority of the fraudulent clicks.

 

Harder to detect

Bots can be programmed with a variety of different features to aid their covert activities. One example of such an adaptation that can be made is that the bot can automatically wipe its own browser cookies between clicks. This removes one of the tools those seeking to eliminate click fraud can utilize, making their task even more difficult.

 

Botnets

One common practice among cyber criminals is to use bots to take over several other people's computer systems. When a group of these host machines work together, they are refered to as a 'botnet. These botnets can avoid detection even more efficiently because the clicks they are programmed to perform will come from a range of regular machines with legitimate IP addresses, unbeknownst to the owners of the computers themselves. To those manually checking through the click data, there will be very little evidence of fraudulent activity, despite huge numbers of unwanted clicks actually being made.

 

What can be done to combat bot click fraud?

Fortunately, pay-per-click scamming can be fought. Successfully defending your campaign against unwanted clicks means you save money through not having to pay publishers who are not successfully attracting genuine interest in your products.

 

The most effective way to combat fraudulent click activity on your AdWords campaigns is by using a piece of third party software. Being designed to analyze reams of data in an instant, these programs remove human error from the process of data analysis, as well as reducing the cost of protection against unwanted clicks. This makes them ideal for medium and smaller businesses who suspect that their advertising campaigns are not working as efficiently as they should be doing.