Ad fraud solutions are incredibly useful for preventing digital ad fraud and protecting the marketing ROI of your business from fraudsters who use bots and human fraud farms—of which CPO Magazine reported that fraud attacks went “up a staggering 90%” in Q1 2020. However, what other uses are there for an ad fraud solution?
There are more ways to use ad fraud software to improve your affiliate marketing than just stopping affiliate fraud—though that is an important benefit and the primary reason to use an ad fraud solution.
How Does an Ad Fraud Solution Work?
An ad fraud solution can work in different ways depending on how the solution is designed. Some so-called “ad fraud solutions” do little more than slap a simple filter on website traffic—using a single “vanity metric” like time-on-page to quickly sort between “valid” and “invalid” traffic.
Another “solution” might simply check IP addresses. While a lot of traffic coming from one IP address can be a key indicator of fraud, it shouldn’t be the only criteria for flagging traffic as fraud.
A truly robust and reliable ad fraud solution needs to accomplish the following:
- Checking Incoming Traffic in Real Time. To actually stop ad fraud, you need a solution that can check traffic as it hits your website in real time. Waiting minutes, hours, or days for a slower, more manual analysis of website traffic data to reveal fraud gives the fraudsters a chance to get paid and get away with the money—while forcing honest affiliates to wait too long to get paid makes it harder to attract new ones or keep those who generate legitimate results.
- Thoroughly Check Every Piece of Traffic. It’s not enough to simply filter traffic based on one or two data points. While some data points are strong indicators of bot traffic, they may lead to false positives if they’re the only metrics being used. It’s important for an ad fraud solution to make a comprehensive check that leverages hundreds of data points to positively identify fraud.
- Provide You with Proof. Some ad fraud “solutions” try to obfuscate the data they use to identify fraud. They leave their users in the dark about why some traffic got flagged while other traffic didn’t. This is not ideal, to say the least. To confront fraudsters and prove what they did, you need access to the hard data used to identify fraudulent activity. So, ad fraud solutions need to provide you with all of the data used to mark leads, clicks, or impressions from a given affiliate as fake so you can confront them.
In short, a truly valuable ad fraud solution needs to be fast, accurate, thorough, and data-driven.
Benefits an Ad Fraud Solution Can Have on Your Affiliate Marketing
So, how can an ad fraud solution benefit your affiliate marketing campaigns? A few benefits include:
1. Improving Affiliate Marketing ROI by Eliminating Fraud
The biggest and most obvious way that ad fraud solutions help improve affiliate marketing campaigns is by protecting your affiliate ad spend from fraudsters. By identifying fraudulent traffic early, ad fraud solutions allow businesses to cut off fraudsters before they get paid—saving the trouble of having to seek a refund after the fraud is uncovered later.
This, in turn, helps improve affiliate marketing ROI since money isn’t being wasted paying for fraudulent leads that won’t generate results (or on hiring lawyers and investigators to track down fraudsters to reclaim lost money).
2. Helping Identify High-Performing Affiliates
Part of building a great affiliate marketing program is finding and retaining top-quality affiliates who will eagerly promote your company to an interested audience. However, identifying quality affiliates requires more than just seeing which one claims the highest income from your affiliate program.
While high-earning affiliates usually produce results, how many leads brought in by each affiliate actually turn into customers? Some affiliates might generate a lot of clicks and form fills, but ultimately produce little in the way of actual business—even when they aren’t engaging in fraud.
With a solution that can track your website traffic and analyze a visitor’s behavior, you can more easily associate successful deals closed with specific affiliates. This can help in a couple of ways:
- It Lets You Identify and Reward Top Performers. To keep good affiliates, you need to keep them incentivized. By identifying the affiliates producing the best results, you can reward these top performers so that they’re more likely to stay. Additionally, if a fraudster is using cookie stuffing to steal the credit for honest affiliates’ work, you can identify the fraud and give credit where it’s really due.
- You Can Identify Trends/Commonalities Among Top Performers. Every affiliate and business has a different audience that they address. There are many affiliates and networks that look great on paper but underperform once added to a campaign—even though they have really big audiences. The problem? The audience being addressed isn’t a good fit for your company or isn’t in the right mindset when they visit the affiliate’s site. With an ad fraud solution to help identify what your website visitors are doing on your site, you can spot the similarities between your best affiliates. Then, you can use that information to pursue more affiliates who share similar attributes and audiences—and are thus likely to perform well.
3. Preventing Client Chargebacks and Refunds
If you’re running affiliate campaigns for other companies, one of the major problems of dealing with fraud is that clients will often demand their money back if they find excessive fraud impacting their marketing spend.
These chargebacks can be annoying and expensive to deal with—as clients may demand extra payment to make up for the time they lost or for the bank fees they incur if they initiate a chargeback instead of getting a refund.
By detecting fraud before the payout, you can eliminate chargebacks from your clients. This has the additional benefit of keeping clients happy since they don’t have to deal with the stress of trying to reclaim lost money.
4. Simplifying Campaign Optimization
Successful affiliate marketing campaigns often require numerous tweaks to maximize results. From modifying marketing messaging to find what works to identify the best affiliates to partner with for any given campaign, optimization is a huge part of marketing success. However, to successfully optimize a campaign, you need hard data that you can rely on.
This is where an ad fraud solution can help.
With detailed analytics collected by the solution, you can identify trends to see which ads, affiliates, and traffic sources are generating the most interest from customers who close deals. This, in turn, can prove invaluable for identifying what works best in your campaigns so you can make tweaks that further increase success.
Interested in Learning More About Affiliate Fraud? Download the Whitepaper Now!
Are You Ready to Transform Your Affiliate Marketing Efforts?
Reach out to Anura today to transform your affiliate marketing campaigns with a reliable ad fraud solution that catches fraud in real time and empowers you to deal with fraudsters before they get a chance to take the money and run.
What is a vanity metric?
It is an analytical number that a company might use to sell the validity of their product or solution because the data looks promising. However, when examined under real-world conditions, the metric doesn’t actually provide the whole picture and may actually be misleading.
What is ad fraud?
The practice of viewing, clicking, converting, or generating false interactions using web assets for the sole purpose of taking money (directly or indirectly) from advertising campaigns. These actions are purely profit-driven and take no consideration for the content or intent of the advertising or the advertiser’s goals.
Why do some ad fraud solutions fail?
Not all ad fraud detection and prevention tools are created equally. Some tools provide the veneer of security or safety so that their users can say “I tried,” but do not actually have the right capabilities to actually put a stop to fraud.
Why is automation important for ad fraud prevention?
A degree of automation is necessary to ensure that fraud can be flagged as it happens. Waiting for manual input from a fraud detection expert could give fraudsters the window of opportunity they need to get away with the money and shut down their operations before they can be confronted. It is especially helpful if fraud can be stopped before the fraudster is paid for the fake leads they “created” for their victim.