Skip to content
Ad Fraud Calculator Calculate Your Loss
Have Questions? 888-337-0641
2 min read

Falling for fakes; how social media bot fraud impacts your ad budget

Featured Image

You’ve placed a paid ad through Meta and are now anxiously awaiting the flood of engagement that is sure to come. Slowly, clicks or visits start to roll in, making you confident your ads are working. After all, the data doesn’t lie. Your CPC is low, your engagement is high, but then, the messages start. 

First, from what looks like Facebook:

FB Scam Message 2

Next from someone who looks like Facebook’s customer service representative.

FB Scam Message 3

Now they are flooding in, one right after the other. 

FB Scam Message 1

Red flags are everywhere that these are spam bots. Misspellings, missing profile pictures, weird links, overly urgent messages, and demands for an immediate reply.

While you may feel a sense of relief that you haven’t committed some policy violation resulting in your account being shut down, it’s about this same time that you realize that the sales you expected from real people are actually bots claiming your clicks. And worse, you're paying for those bots to click on your ad, send you messages, and eat up your ad budget.

Fake accounts are a real problem and one that even a giant like Facebook is struggling to deal with. According to an article by Statista, Facebook takes down billions (yes, that’s BILLIONS) of fake accounts each year. They consider a fake account any account created with malicious intent or created to represent a business, organization, or non-human entity. While Meta seems busy shutting down fake accounts in the billions, hackers, fraudsters, and thieves are busier and no social platform is safe.

The last official word from LinkedIn on their fight against fake accounts was published as a blog in October of 2022 blaming the rapid use of AI to create profile pictures and convincingly high-profile photos that appear “authentic”. They also claimed in their 2021 transparency report to increase the number of fake accounts they took down before members reported them by 23%. A little bit of a misleading number if you’re asking us and there hasn’t been much new information published by LinkedIn in several years now.

The exception is when LinkedIn announced their own attempt to utilize AI to fight, that’s right, AI in the battle over fake accounts. The future of online warfare is now! It will be interesting to see who loses the war, but in the meantime, the biggest losers are the real members and advertisers alike.

According to the FTC, US citizens lost $770 million to social media scams and Anura has reported that in 2023, ad fraud caused advertisers to lose at least $125 billion.

So if users are losing money and advertisers are losing money, and the platforms can’t keep up, just how long can social platforms expect for paid advertising to continue?

The truth is wasted ad spend isn’t always enough for advertisers to pay attention or be deterred from using social as a primary medium for advertising. Many in the lead generation space consider this a cost of doing business. Social media is still a thriving and lucrative place to capture real leads and send them to their website to make real purchases.

Here’s the good news. Advertisers can have their cake and eat it too. With Anura, advertisers can hide their ads from fraudsters.

Anura’s Search and Social Protecttm is an ad fraud detection solution designed specifically to fight bots and fake accounts on the most-used social channels including Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, X (formerly known as Twitter), and LinkedIn, as well as Google and Microsoft (Bing) search engines.  

Using advanced algorithms and real-time analysis, Anura’s Search and Social Protect detects fraudulent users from search engines and social media platforms. Then it hides your ads from them so these fraudsters can’t take any action. This helps to reduce wasted ad spend and increase your campaigns’ ROI.

The answer to our question remains uncertain. However, as social media channels explore new revenue models, fraudsters will undoubtedly seek new ways to exploit these changes. Anura's customers can rest assured that we are continuously adapting, using the latest technology and our extensive experience to protect their advertising budgets. Request a 15-day free trial and see how we can offer the same protection for you.

New call-to-action