Bots are everywhere these days. From Twitch viewer bots to bots that can enhance your cryptocurrency trading outcomes, these software applications are automating a huge range of automated tasks and functions.
However, while many bots are helpful in terms of achieving greater operational efficiency, others undertake more sinister activities.
Affiliate marketing, for example, is a regular target of fraudulent activities such as bot traffic, click fraud and cookie stuffing. These activities can skew affiliate earnings and harm the reputation of the affiliate industry.
Why Are Bots a Threat to Affiliate Marketing?
As the use of bots has proliferated, bot detection has become an important means of fighting affiliate marketing fraud.
Why? Because fraudsters use bots to generate fake traffic and create false ad impressions. This means affiliate marketers can use bots to fraudulently bump up their earnings from product owners.
The size of the global affiliate marketing industry shows why fraud within it is such a temptation. Globally, the industry is estimated to be worth $12 billion.
That’s a big pot of money for fraudsters to tap into, particularly when they can use bots to automate a large part of their activity and virtual private networks (VPNs) to create impressions from different locations.
Fraudulent affiliate marketing not only costs product owners money but also damages trust, with businesses becoming more cautious about their affiliate relationships.
How Can You Secure Your Affiliate Marketing?
As a product owner, there are steps that you can take to help beat affiliate marketing fraudsters. The first is to implement a bot detection system that monitors traffic sources and click activity to identify potentially fraudulent activity.
Such systems use techniques such as IP filtering, user agent analysis, and referral source analysis to detect bots and other types of fraudulent activity. This empowers you to take a deep look at such activity and, where appropriate, block traffic.
By detecting and blocking bot traffic, you can ensure that only legitimate clicks and conversions are recorded for your affiliate marketers.
This protects your earnings from fraud while maintaining the integrity of the affiliate industry as a whole.
The prevention of affiliate marketing fraud can also help businesses attract and retain high-quality affiliates who are looking for a trustworthy platform to promote products or services.
Affiliate marketing is a core acquisition channel for many brand marketers. 20% of brand marketers list it as their most important customer acquisition channel, while 54% rank it as being among their top three.
Interestingly, just 16% of those same brand marketers rank organic/paid search as being their top customer acquisition channel, while 15% rank it as being among their top three.
This highlights the value of affiliate marketing to those on both sides of the equation. It is a fundamental part of many businesses’ strategies – which is why bot detection and blocking suspect traffic are so important.