Why has ‘marketing security’ become a top priority for today’s marketers?
Five years ago, if you were to ask a marketer about their security strategy, the likely answer would have been complete confusion. “Bots, proxies, data center traffic? That’s for the security team to worry about.” But in 2022, you’ll be hard pressed to find a marketing leader who hasn’t implemented a marketing security strategy. Most marketers today see fake, automated and malicious traffic as a strategic threat to their operations, compromising efficiency and hurting their bottom line.
27% of website traffic is fake and killing marketing efficiency
Recent data published by CHEQ on a pool of over 12,000 customers revealed that 27% of all website traffic is fake, consisting of botnets, data centers, automation tools, scrapers, crawlers, proxies, click farms and scammers. The scale of the “Fake Web” is huge and marketers see it everywhere. In the last Super Bowl, 17 billion ad views came from bots and fake users. On Black Friday, a third of online shoppers weren’t real. Affiliate marketers lose $1.4 billion a year to fraud. Elon Musk recently highlighted concerns about bots taking over social media, and Spotify is reportedly suffering from its own bot issue. Wherever marketers look, the Fake Web is there, affecting their campaigns, funnels, data and revenues.
Unsecured paid marketers ‘wasted’ thousands of clicks on fake users
Perhaps one of the most visible issues for marketers, especially paid user acquisitions, is Click Fraud. Bots, click farms and even competitors eat up ad budgets and seriously hurt campaign efficiency. Many advertisers are exposed to thousands or even tens of thousands of fake clicks every month, which is a huge waste of money. But it’s not just wasted expenses, it’s budgets that would go to real paying customers who would otherwise get real revenue. In fact, recent data shows that $42 billion is lost in revenue opportunities each year because of this issue.
But the real damage starts when these fake users infiltrate your target audience.
Many paid marketers use smart campaigns or audiences to bring together users who have already shown an interest in their product or service or share features with users they have. This is useful for expanding the market they cater to and reaching new potential buyers. At this point, it may come as no surprise that bots and fake users also stand in the way of the successful execution of this application. When audiences are contaminated with malicious human users or invalid bot traffic, marketers inadvertently retarget and optimize towards fake traffic. If marketing security measures are not taken, this cycle can continue until viewers are overtaken by bots and bear no resemblance to a group of human users with the ability and intent to convert. If clean audience segments are a priority, marketing security is also a priority for many marketers.
Fraudulent traffic is also one of the biggest drivers of poor lead quality.
Every marketer can relate to the frustration of incoming leads that seem illegitimate. Sometimes it’s a fake account or a fake email address. Sometimes the information may appear legitimate, but you can’t find the company or person when you search the lead. But whatever the case, nothing creates more tension between sales and marketing than fake leaders who waste sales team time and never convert. In fact, poor traffic quality is one of the biggest drivers of adopting marketing security today, as teams try to eliminate illegal form filling and submissions and prevent them from polluting the sales pipeline.
But perhaps the biggest reason marketers fight bots is data quality.
Beyond the waste of money, lack of budget, contaminated trackers, and fake leads, there is one issue that stands above them all and is perhaps the biggest driver of marketing security adoption – and that issue is data quality. Think about it – organizations spend a lot of energy, time, effort, resources and money on data management and consumption – expensive BI, analytics and reporting tools, analyst teams, CDPs and DMPs. All this so they can make better tactical decisions about landing page optimization, audiences, and targeting, as well as strategic decisions regarding budget and channel planning, growth planning, and revenue forecasting. When on average 27% of the traffic in the funnel is fake, all that data is distorted and these decisions are seriously compromised. Adding a layer of visibility to detect bots and fake users and gain transparency over their funnel is becoming an absolute integral part of the role of marketers today.
More than anything else, marketing security is seen as an opportunity
Marketers want to eliminate these threats to their operations, but above all they want better budget efficiency, better leads and higher revenue, and that is the ultimate goal of marketing security. Eliminating these inefficiencies provides a healthy, clean and transparent funnel with better results. And for these reasons, ask a marketer, “What is your security strategy?” to ask. In 2022, Marketing Security is quickly becoming an almost mundane question as it quickly becomes an industry standard.
This article was written by Daniel Avital, chief strategy officer and head of global marketing at CHEQ.