The word ‘Bot’ can be both good and bad in the digital marketing ecosystem. There are good bots like the search engine crawlers which help to improve your website performance. On the other hand, there are bad bots that are used by cybercriminals to commit unethical activities like ad fraud and stealing advertisers’ ad spends.
Half of the internet’s traffic consists of bots, of which 65% are bad bots. In recent events, bad bots have costed brands more than just money. The latest news of Elon Musk dropping out of a $44 bn deal with Twitter due to fake accounts is a sign of how deep-rooted the issue is.
As a marketer, you need to be aware of who is visiting your website. When analyzing data, it is important to ensure that your data doesn’t consist of bot traffic. With the help of Google Analytics, you can detect and filter the bot traffic to see cleaner data points.
Thinking about how to detect bot traffic on Google Analytics?
We have included the most common tell-tale signs to detect bot traffic on your Google Analytics.
4 Signs to detect Bot Traffic on Google Analytics
1. Unusual Traffic
If your website visit increases from an average number of 1,000 to 20,000 or you see a similar spike in a short interval of time without any marketing efforts or unknown reasons, it is not good news. Your website traffic is polluted with bots if you see a sudden spike in your website traffic, and there are certain things you might notice:
- Page views less than 1 second on single pages
- No location or location set of a botnet
- Keyword searched or domain name with the word “Bot”
2. Unknown Referral Traffic
Referral traffic refers to the traffic that comes to the site by clicking on a link in another domain or platform. It is also used as a medium for bot traffic. These sources can be detected manually on Google Analytics. Some of the common signs of bot-generated referral traffic are:
- Sites with spammy-looking domains
- Referral sites with unusually high visits
3. Unusually Low Page-Time
Unlike the human way of browsing, the bots are programmed in a way that they behave in the same pattern. When looking at the Google analytics data, check for sources that have a page visit time of less than a minute. Bots are programmed to just add a visit to the page which is usually 1 or 2 seconds maximum. It is obvious that a human will not come and stay on a page for less than 1 second, and hence you can detect the traffic generated by bots.
4. Strange Metrics
The classic sign of bot activity on your site is if you see something at an extreme or unusually low. For instance, if you see bounce rates of sources at 0% or 100% then there is a high chance this visit is from a fraudulent source.
Is detecting bot traffic on Google Analytics enough?
Google Analytics allows you to exclude bot traffic to see a clear picture of your data without fraud traffic. With the help of Google Analytics, you can get a better insight into how much website traffic is genuine to make a better business decision.
This can help you exclude the bot traffic showing on your analytics data, but the real impact of bot traffic will still exist. Thus, just the bot traffic detection on Google Analytics is not enough.
To protect your websites and ad campaigns from the impact of bot traffic, you need an advanced ad traffic validation suite. This can prevent bots from draining your ad budget on invalid traffic and skewing your data.
Advanced Problems Need Advanced Solutions
The general bots are easy to detect by analyzing the unusual bot patterns. However, the sophisticated bots are programmed in a way that they can easily replicate human behavior. And thus, an advanced ad fraud detection tool becomes necessary to combat this problem.
mFilterIt’s ad traffic validation suite detects bot traffic in real-time and eliminates them to prevent further wastage of ad spends. With the capabilities of AI, ML, and data science, the solution detects and analyses the bot patterns based on various parameters and blacklists them.
There is no one way to fight ad fraud and win against the fraudsters. With the help of analytics, you can take better business decisions by excluding the bot traffic sources from your data points. With the right mix of both analytics and ad fraud detection , you can combat ad fraud attacks and ensure that only real humans are viewing and clicking your ads and visiting your website.