Making Every Click Count: Solving Barriers to Growth in Digital Campaigns
In a challenging economic climate, retailers and e-commerce businesses must make every click count. The ever-growing presence of fraudulent traffic from threat actors is limiting the effectiveness of Google Ads campaigns and leading to damaging revenue losses. Retailers can no longer assume all traffic from their pay-per-click (PPC) or artificial intelligence-based advertising campaigns originate from genuine leads. As consumers tighten their spending, it's critical that retailers reach real potential customers to ensure their budgets aren't going to waste.
Invalid traffic (IVT) gives the impression that campaigns are generating legitimate traffic when this isn't the case. This causes a challenge for retailers as their budgets have to be 100 percent optimized and performance-orientated to ensure no investment is wasted. The increased presence of IVT is making this harder, with fraudsters disrupting campaigns and distorting metrics, which isn’t possible when fraudsters interfere by disrupting campaigns with invalid traffic. This leads to unreliable results and damage to budgets.
According to Statista, advertisers are predicted to lose $100 billion globally to ad fraud by 2023. IVT presents a high-cost challenge that retailers cannot afford to ignore. To stay ahead, they must prioritize the quality of their traffic over the quantity in their digital campaigns to mitigate costly losses.
Rather than reduce budgets, organizations need to dig deeper into the effectiveness and efficiency of their ad campaigns. This requires extracting as much value from every click throughout the customer journey, from discovery to purchase.
Optimizing Campaign Traffic
IVT is a form of traffic that either originates from nonhuman sources or doesn’t contribute to incremental growth. Fraudsters target campaigns with IVT, and this often goes unnoticed. Advertising platforms such as Google’s Performance Max (PMax) leverage AI to drive marketing efficiency, but the AI algorithm they implement has difficulty identifying fraudulent activity. PMax’s algorithm assumes any user engagement is positive, allowing bad actors to bypass systems undetected and interfere with campaign data.
With unclean traffic such as IVT passing through, AI ad platforms like PMax are holding back the growth of organizations by providing unreliable data. IVT causes campaigns to optimize towards a fraudulent source that has no intention of making a conversion, instead of legitimate ones. Retailers then lose out on potential profit, and mistakenly target incorrect sources in future campaigns, leading to even further long-term losses.
Without proper analysis and insight into their traffic, advertisers are having their budgets drained unwittingly. By filtering out fraudulent activity, businesses will be able to reach the full potential of digital ad campaigns and maximize revenue growth.
Protecting Campaign Data
Return on ad spend (ROAS) is one of the main metrics evaluated by retail/e-commerce companies to determine the success of paid campaigns. Advertising budgets have to be completely optimized to ensure no investment is wasted. For this reason, solutions to tackle fraud are essential to see an increased ROAS.
Retailers can take preventative measures to stop fraudulent activity in their campaigns. By taking these steps, organizations will be able to better optimize their Google Ads campaigns and achieve greater return on investment:
- Analyzing and Optimizing Campaign Traffic: AI campaign platforms have trouble identifying the IVT that fraudsters are injecting into ad campaigns. By leveraging analytics and reporting tools, organizations can identify any irregular patterns within their campaigns caused by fraudulent activity. With the false engagement exposed, organizations can then block it from their traffic and optimize campaign and ad spend towards legitimate sources instead.
- Improve Audience Signals: It's crucial that campaigns target the correct audience to guarantee retailers have a high chance of conversion. Audience signals are an incredibly helpful tool for identifying appropriate groups by their behavior and demographics. By refining these signals through the exclusion of IVT, AI ad campaigns will be much more effective.
Maximizing Campaign Value
The prevalence of AI campaigns and the success they can achieve make them increasingly tempting targets for fraudsters. Bad actors are constantly evolving their methods to infiltrate systems without detection. If this continues, players in retail and e-commerce markets won’t be able to reap the full benefits of their campaigns.
There is time, however, to stop bad actors and preserve the integrity of your campaigns. Retailers can take back control from fraudsters by deploying the right tools to counter them. This way, they can capture long-term revenue with their ad campaigns.
Mathew Ratty is the CEO and co-founder at TrafficGuard, a digital ad verification and fraud prevention platform.
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Mr. Ratty is a successful business leader with skills across innovation, commercialization, strategy, capital raising and M&A.
He is the Co Founder and current Chief Executive Officer of Adveritas and TrafficGuard since 2018. Prior to this Mr Ratty Co-founded MC Management Group Pty Ltd, a venture capital firm operating in domestic and international debt and equity markets, who are also substantial shareholders in the Company. At MC Management, Mr. Ratty held the role of Head of Investment and was responsible for asset allocation.
He holds a degree from Curtin University where he majored in Finance and Property with first class honors in finance.