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You May be Consistently Wasting Your PPC & SEO Budget

Nobody likes to waste money, especially in a data-driven world of performance measurement & KPIs that can drill down to the minutiae. But something wicked is looming across the web, and it doesn't just affect paid traffic; it is all over the place. This doesn't just affect your analytics & performance measurements, it affects your revenue and bottom line!

Fraudulent Traffic is Everywhere

A recent article posted shows data gathered by CHEQ (a global cybersecurity company) accounts for "more than 40% of all traffic online is invalid" or bogus.

In the State of Fake Traffic 2023 released last week, CHEQ estimates that in 2022 11.3% of all traffic was fake, 5.9% of paid traffic was fake, 5.7% of organic traffic was fake, and 22.1% of direct traffic was fake.

Data compiled by CHEQ estimates $35.7 billion of ad spend was wasted on fake traffic in 2022. It collated this data by analyzing more than one billion site visits from over 15,000 companies currently using CHEQ services.

Reviewing the data points suggests the need for accounting for variance when reporting KPIs on a consistent basis. Ensuring you are scrubbing as many metrics as possible to keep a tight control group on measurements that matter most.

Fake Traffic Comparison Table (2022)

Channel/Source % of Fake Traffic (estimated)
All Traffic Sources 11.3%
Paid Traffic 5.9%
Organic Traffic 5.7%
Direct Traffic 22.1%

When looking at the primary source of fake traffic, the following are the most likely originators:

  1. Data Centers (25.4%)
  2. Automation Tools (22.3%)
  3. VPNs (20.9%)
  4. Scrapers (8.7%)
  5. Proxy (5.1%)
  6. Low-Quality Users (3.9%)
  7. Malicious Bots (3.2%)
  8. Other (~10.5%)

Even worse, click fraud is on a steady (if not exploding) rise. The report further illustrates that the following attacks saw the largest growth in 2022:

  1. Click Hijacking (+125%)
  2. Malicious Bot Attacks (+112%)
  3. Web Scraper Attacks (+101%)

Why Does All of this Matter?

We live in our client data. We make important decisions surrounding the effectiveness of PPC/SEM campaigns in our daily dives to understand where best to spend money on ads. 

For example, if we are optimizing a campaign for TOFU awareness and measuring CTR% to weed out the most effective messaging, losing ~6% to invalid metrics can completely skew our guidance. Fake visits could potentially lead us down a path of misguided findings. Furthermore, capturing & tracking an audience that could ultimately be polluted. Likely removing any value to moving users further down the funnel to MOFU/BOFU content.

The problem continues to worsen when looking at SEO. Fake organic traffic can lead to further pollution of data analysis and audience tracking. And when you couple SEM+SEO and now realize that +10% of your traffic can be garbage, things really start to add up.

It doesn't seem like much if you're thinking, 10% of my ad budget isn't all that much... But it certainly adds up over time and especially for larger budgets. Losing 10% of $1,000/mo is $100. Annualized we're talking about $1,200 thrown down the drain if you don't take any precautions. This scales exponentially when getting into $100k/mo budgets and up. You're now talking about tens of thousands of dollars wasted every single month! 

There is a solution, and it's not going to cost you more than you save for implementation... 

How Can We Prevent This From Occurring?

Focus on proper, and accurate, data collection across all channels.

Getting your analytics, website, ad platforms, and really your entire tech stack aligned, integrated, and working properly is paramount to all your operations - especially digital marketing.

Your goal is not just to look at the surface metrics, but to dig deeper and align your marketing channels with actual revenue to pick your winners. A well-crafted tech stack that ties right into revenue reporting in your CRM or marketing automation tools will give you the best-in-class solution for moving MALs > MQLs > SQLs.

Building a clean campaign for SEM/SEO for clients requires (at a minimum)

  • Properly configured tech stack (Ad platforms, CRM, email marketing, analytics)
  • Clear KPIs and measurements for client-aligned outcomes
  • Software to eliminate fraud (we use PPC fraud elimination tools on 100% of our client accounts)
  • Analytics Filters (avoid reporting on bogus, spam, and general misguided traffic)
  • Review, Reporting, Results

Our goal is to focus on quality over quantity for all digital marketing efforts. If you'd like to have a discussion about your current tech stack, digital marketing strategy, or results, take a moment to get in contact with us.