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Affiliate marketing can be an incredibly valuable channel for driving traffic and leads to your business’ website. Partnering with affiliates to display ads on their site, have them promote your products or services, and generally raise your brand awareness can provide a significant boost to your lead generation.
This may be why some companies spend millions of dollars on their affiliate programs—building massive networks of people who promote their brand. For example, at one point, Uber was spending $150 million annually on affiliate marketing.
However, where there’s money, there are crooks who will look to steal it. The estimates of how much affiliate fraud costs the global economy each year vary—which may be because a certain amount of fraud goes either undetected or unreported so totals have to be estimated. For example, fraud estimates from different sources cited by Business of Apps range between $34 billion and $6.5 billion per year.
At one point, Uber discovered that $100 million of its $150 million marketing budget was being wasted on marketing fraud.
The impact of affiliate marketing fraud can be enormous for advertisers. However, the exact level of harm caused can vary depending on the fraud, how long it goes undetected, and the size of the affiliate campaign. Some potential impacts of affiliate fraud include:
The loss of marketing performance, wasted ad spend, and reputational damage that affiliate marketing scams can cause are all strong reasons to try to craft fraud-resistant affiliate campaigns.
To put a stop to affiliate marketing fraud, it’s important to know what kind of affiliate scams fraudsters might try to use against you. There are many kinds of scams that might be used against your campaigns—largely because scammers are constantly evolving their tactics to make themselves harder to detect and counter.
Some examples of common affiliate scams and fraud techniques include:
Within the five broad categories of affiliate scams/fraud techniques listed above, there is seemingly endless room for variation as scammers refine their strategies. For example, some bot traffic fraud techniques rely on bots installed in large networks of malware-compromised devices—creating vast botnets of thousands of computers, smartphones, and IoT devices that carry out fraud. Meanwhile, less sophisticated fraudsters might simply run a bot from a single computer (these are generally easier to catch).
Putting a stop to fraud should be a top priority for any company running an online marketing campaign. The question is: “what can you do to stop fraud before it hurts your business?”
Many anti-fraud techniques are largely reactionary—only combating fraud after the damage is done. For example, doing a deep dive into your marketing analytics can be an effective and reliable way to identify fraud. However, because of how long a manual review takes, fraudsters might be able to run away with their ill-gotten gains before you can shut them down.
So, to put a stop to affiliate fraud, it’s important to have a solution that can check fraud in real time and identify fake leads before your company pays affiliates for bad traffic. This is where an ad fraud solution like Anura can help.
With Anura’s real-time fraud detection, zero false positive rate, and analytical data collection, you can put a stop to fraud before it can hurt your marketing, prove the source of the fraud, and back up your findings with hard data to resolve any disputes.
Are you ready to make your affiliate marketing campaigns more cost-effective and protect your brand from fraud? Reach out to Anura today!
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