Terminator: Rise of the Machines & How to Deal with Bot Attacks
Bot attacks are a serious threat to online advertising campaigns. They can waste your money, skew your data, and lower your conversion rates. In this article, we will show you how to identify and prevent bot attacks on your ad account.
Bots Grow in a Particular Climate
Bot attacks are not random events. They usually happen when certain conditions are met on your ad account. These conditions make your account more vulnerable and attractive to bots.
Some of these conditions are:
- You have recently been expanding rapidly ad spend and reach
- The sales process once a lead is generated is long
- You don’t receive regular lead quality reports
The longer you don’t act against bot attacks, the more difficult it becomes to remove them.
Bot attacks can also come in different forms:
- Bots: Automated click bots that spend money by clicking on ads and sometimes fully converting
- Click Farms: These are large groups of people in third world countries, hired to click and convert on your website
Both types of bot attacks aim to drain your budget and lower your campaign performance.
Run the Diagnostic
If you suspect that your ad account might be under attack by bots, you need to run a diagnostic as soon as possible. The first step is to ask for a list of leads from your client or sales team.
Once you have the lead list, you need to look for some signs that indicate fraudulent traffic:
- Optional form fields are largely empty
- Country of origin are some of the first that appear
- Names are weird
- Email domains are largely unknown
These signs show that the leads are not genuine prospects, but rather fake accounts created by bots or click farms.
Another way to detect bot attacks is to look for spikes in your key performance indicators (KPIs). If you see a sudden improvement in metrics like impressions, clicks, conversions, or cost per acquisition (CPA), you might be excited at first. However, if these spikes last for more than 2-3 weeks without any explanation, you should be concerned.
Spikes in KPIs can mean that bots or click farms are inflating your numbers artificially. This can make your campaign look good on paper but actually hurt your return on investment (ROI).
To confirm if these spikes are caused by bot attacks, you need to compare them with other metrics like bounce rate, time on site, pages per session, or conversion rate by device. If these metrics show low engagement or poor quality traffic from certain devices or countries, then you have a problem.
Once you can prove that you have a bot attack on your ad account, there are three steps that can help you stop it:
- Block the IPs of the suspicious leads: Click Farms are usually located in one place, so one IP address can be linked to 2-3 leads. You can use tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Ads Manager to find out the IP addresses of your leads and block them from seeing your ads.
- Install ClickCease to your website and link it to your ad accounts: This platform starts at $55 a month and blocks all VPN traffic, super-fast clickers and other suspicious traffic. For Ivywise, it has blocked 80-90% of all fraudulent traffic. The platform also allows you to apply for a Google Ads refund for the fraudulent traffic that’s not usually recognized by Google Ads alone.
- Report the bot attack to Google Ads or Facebook Ads support team: If you have evidence that your ad account has been attacked by bots or click farms you should report it to Google Ads or Facebook Ads support team. They might be able to investigate further and take action against the perpetrators.
By following these steps, you can protect your ad account from bot attacks and save money and time.
Bot attacks are not something that should be ignored or taken lightly. They can ruin your online advertising campaigns and waste your resources. By following the steps in this article, you can identify and prevent bot attacks on your ad account and improve your campaign performance.