Security professionals are the ones who are often concerned about bots, but marketers are becoming more aware of the harm that bot attacks like ad fraud can do to company budgets and campaign performance.
When businesses consider the impact of bots, they might think about the effect on customer reputation, the cost of an attack, or even the wider security ramifications for their websites or apps. However, the consequences go beyond this because it can be far more complex and expensive for businesses to make decisions based on consumer behavior if they can’t tell the difference between actual consumers and bots.
Since bots generate half of all web traffic, companies squander a lot of money providing services to potential customers that do not exist. All marketers base their decisions on the data produced by these customer journeys, but the data is intrinsically inaccurate if bots are present with actual customers.
Can marketers make decisions based on faulty data?
Real Customers and Bots
The direct impact of a bot attack on a company is its most evident cost. If a bot stops disrupting the site or purchasing items to resell, it may not be much of an issue when it visits a site. But because there are so many bots, serving them comes at a high expense. There is a cost associated with serving bots, even if a company manages to stop every effort at fraud, including account takeovers.
Additionally, if half of all traffic is automated, infrastructure costs could be twice as expensive as they otherwise would be. If automated traffic causes websites or apps to load slowly, this could also impact customer satisfaction.
Ad Fraud and Inaccurate Analytics
Ad fraud is a well-known practice that frequently makes news in the marketing world and might possibly pose a threat to the viability of online advertising. Ad fraud can take many different forms, but it generally refers to any effort to prevent actual users and the target audience from receiving ads as intended. This might be caused by false ad networks that don’t deliver on their promises or by phony clicks on ads to make them appear successful.
Any decision regarding online advertising that a marketer makes must include the potential consequences of ad fraud.
On the other hand, bot activity on websites leads to skewed analytics. Bots visit websites for various reasons, including attempting account takeovers, scraping data for harmful purposes, and purchasing products from the site to resell elsewhere. When visiting websites, sophisticated bots will imitate human behavior to avoid being discovered. The data gathered is, at the very least, tainted and, at worst useless because the journey of the bots is not influenced by the same elements as real consumers and does not, therefore, reflect the pattern of behavior of a genuine customer.
Security and Marketing
Therefore, how should businesses approach this issue? Perhaps surprisingly, security teams aren’t always in the best position to identify vulnerabilities posed by bots like these. As a matter of fact, marketing teams are often the first to identify a bot problem because bots that mimic a customer can evade security and be undiscovered until analytics data is examined. The marketing team will be the first to recognize whether bots are a hindrance in the way of marketing activities and wasting online budgets.
This can only be resolved if marketing teams collaborate with security teams to understand the issue and come up with a solution. Without this collaboration, one team might be aware of an issue but be unable to address it, while the other would be unaware of it altogether.
Businesses face a lot of trouble because of bots. Businesses experience losses when running promotions based on wrong data, or even blowing through a marketing budget, in addition to card fraud, account takeovers, and the purchase of limited consumer products. However, since it is not merely a security issue, it cannot be resolved by the security teams alone – this necessitates a strong collaboration between security and marketing teams.
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