Is fraudulent web traffic giving your marketing team conniptions? Probably time to relax and stop worrying about it, says one industry expert.
“As far as I’m aware, bots have not actually placed any orders,” writes Roy Beagley in Folio:.
Beagley is correct; the hue and cry over viruses and bots that artificially inflate web traffic shouldn’t be sending advertisers into any kind of tailspin. Instead, Beagley offers up a level-head look at ROI and the digital age.
Beagley cites recent studies by the IAB and the BPA that found as much as a third of all web traffic is fraudulent, and “that only 40 percent of the ads measured were actually viewable.” And he asks, poignantly, is this really a problem?
“We used to ascertain whether a marketing or advertising campaign was successful by the amount of money, or orders, the campaign gained. For some, the important factor was money in the bank, for others it was orders,” writes Beagley.
“Nobody ever judged the success, or otherwise, by how many people actually saw the promotion. I don’t think anybody presumed that everyone receiving the promotion would actually look at it, so why are we making this an issue now?” he asks.
Beagley refers to traditional direct mail campaigns, which have been measured for years based on how many customers actually placed orders. “No one ever suggested that the 97 percent who DIDN’T respond doomed every direct mail campaign to failure,” he notes.
It seems we’ve taken the easy way out in this digital age, measuring those things that are rather simple to track, like click-throughs and open rates. But what do these numbers actually tell us? Precious little, when you don’t also link those metrics to sales secured.
“No advertiser ever assumed that every reader of a magazine looked at his or her advertisement; the measure of success was cost verses income. I don’t think they would even expect 40 percent of the readers to view the ad—just as long as the expenditure/income ratio was acceptable.
It’s a great reminder that as marketers we have to understand what those metrics really tell us and how they impact our bottom line, bots and viruses aside.