In today’s challenging environment, marketers are being asked to drive more business by ensuring efficient and effective spend of their valuable marketing dollars. They need to drive website traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into new customers with more vigor than before. Marketers are adapting and testing new approaches, and actively reviewing metrics and ROI on digital campaigns to meet leadership and company goals. The pressure is on to deliver.
As marketing continues to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19, a black swan event like no other, marketers need to shift from focusing on the volume of traffic and leads they create, to the humanity of that traffic and those leads. Why this shift? With more people going online and staying online longer, the opportunity to engage with new customers digitally is massive. But with that opportunity, comes bad actors following the money, driving fraudulent activity – notably sophisticated bot attacks – diminishing the results of hard work of our marketing campaigns.
Let’s explore some of the challenges marketers are experiencing when it comes to the attack of sophisticated bots on their marketing campaigns and how they can protect themselves to drive better business results.
The Rise of Sophisticated Bots Looking and Acting Human
While simple bots (like the web crawlers that power search engines) are easily spotted amid website traffic, sophisticated bots are so human-like they become much harder to find and stop. These types of bots can move around websites, fill out forms, and get through Captchas all while appearing to be human. Today’s sophisticated bots live on the mobile devices and computers we use every day. They share our identity and browser history, making it harder for marketers to know which leads are real and which are fraudulent. Additionally, marketing automation platforms are showcasing lower deliverability rates because the emails being sent are fake or, even worse, fraudulent addresses.
When sophisticated bots interfere with marketing campaigns, it skews overall marketing analytics and has substantial impacts. Bots that go undetected lead marketers to experience lower conversion rates, wasted spend and time on follow up efforts, and difficulty assessing the true impact of campaigns. In one example, a top brand found that as much as 40% of the traffic they drove to a form-collection page was from sophisticated bots. Retargeting efforts, for example, waste additional spend when sophisticated bots have infiltrated the contact database. In recent years, it has become clear that run-of-the-mill bot detection techniques and software cannot catch this type of fraudulent activity, as those solutions are only optimized to find simple bots.
Driving Human Leads – And Better Business Results
With a renewed focus on lead humanity, marketers will see tangible benefits in their conversion rates, lead quality, and budgets. A bot doesn’t want to hear your message – they just want to waste your time and money. Don’t spend your valuable time chasing bots – there are ways to oust sophisticated bots from your bottom line.
The biggest challenge to detecting today’s sophisticated bots is that they are constantly changing. In order to stop a bot problem, it’s important to engage with a cybersecurity company (not a measurement company) with a bot mitigation platform with a multilayered bot detection methodology that leverages technical evidence, real-time threat intelligence, machine learning, and continuous adaptation to stay ahead of bad actors. The goal is to catch and stop the bot before money is wasted.
In addition to a technological approach to the bot problem, marketers must take a stand. Even if your bot traffic is 2-3%, the impacts to wasted spend are 5X that amount. In most cases, sophisticated bot traffic can be 5%, 10% and as high as 40% so the impact to your marketing dollars is massive.
Marketers need a partner who can detect sophisticated bots to ensure that their campaigns stay effective, efficient, and most of all: human. This will lead to higher conversion-to-opportunity rates and better business outcomes. Succeeding is in the DNA of a good marketer, and in order to succeed in today’s challenging climate, marketers need to start looking at their metrics and ROI differently.
Ask questions. Investigate.
Look beyond the surface of the numbers because sophisticated bot attacks are affecting every brand across the globe.
It is better to tackle this problem head on than to let them sit in your systems. Now is the time for marketing leaders to join the fight to actually win the war against marketing fraud.