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Here’s why Brands should care about ad fraud when measuring the impact of their affiliate marketing programs

Bots account for 56% of overall website traffic

25% of publishers have no way to detect non-human traffic

In the last year, more than $23 billion has been lost by brands globally due to ad fraud.

PartnerCentric predicts that activity from fraudulent sources reduces brands’ Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) by almost 22%, on average.*

*Based on current internal estimates on the amount of web traffic coming from non-human sources

Ad fraud hits Brands where it hurts: inaccurate ROI metrics and reputation damage.

When fraudulent clicks, impressions, or interactions are generated, brands are essentially paying for fake engagement that provides no value in terms of genuine customer interest. This leads to a lower return on investment (ROI) for affiliate marketing campaigns and can hinder a brand’s ability to achieve its marketing objectives effectively. Additionally, ad fraud can distort analytics and campaign performance data, making it challenging for brands to make informed decisions and optimize their marketing efforts.

Ad fraud can also tarnish a brand’s reputation. When consumers encounter fraudulent ads or suspect a brand of engaging in deceptive practices, their trust in that brand can be eroded. A damaged reputation can lead to a loss of customer loyalty and negative word-of-mouth, ultimately impacting long-term brand success. Therefore, brands must combat ad fraud to protect their financial resources and preserve their hard-earned reputation in a competitive and trust-dependent marketplace.

How does ad fraud can hinder the success of an affiliate program?

Ad fraud has significant negative consequences on marketing campaigns, finances, and overall brand reputation and integrity. Here are five key ways ad fraud limits brand growth and marketing success:

Wasted Advertising Budget:

Ad fraud involves fake or fraudulent clicks, views, or interactions with online ads. When brands pay for these fraudulent engagements, they waste a substantial portion of their advertising budget without reaching real potential customers.

Reduced ROI:

With a significant portion of the budget being wasted on fraudulent activities, brands receive a lower return on investment (ROI) for their advertising campaigns. This means they are not getting the results they expect and are spending more to achieve their marketing goals.

Diminished Trust:

Ad fraud can erode consumer trust in a brand. When users encounter fraudulent ads or suspect that a brand is associated with deceptive practices, they may become skeptical or even disengage from that brand. Trust is essential for building and maintaining a strong customer base.

Brand Reputation Damage:

A brand’s reputation can be seriously harmed if it is associated with ad fraud. Customers may view the brand as untrustworthy or unethical, leading to a decline in customer loyalty and a tarnished image in the market.

Inaccurate Data and Analytics:

Ad fraud can skew marketing analytics so brands will never truly understand the effectiveness of their campaigns. 


Types of ad fraud and bad traffic

Bots and Click Farms 

Ad bots and click farms are networks of fake social media profiles or automated bots that engage with ads, making it seem like they have real engagement. In reality, these interactions are devoid of real interest.

Bot Traffic

Bots are automated computer programs that can mimic human behavior online. They can generate fake clicks, views, and interactions, leading to ad fraud. This type of bad traffic can inflate metrics while delivering no real value.

Fraud Rings 

Fraud rings, also known as criminal rings or fraud networks, are organized groups of individuals who collaborate to engage in various types of fraudulent and nefarious activities for financial gain or other illicit purposes. These groups are often highly coordinated and can be involved in a wide range of criminal endeavors. 

What is the impact of ad fraud on a brand?

Bad reporting and false numbers 

Without an accurate view into reporting, metrics can get skewed or inflated. The true ROI of a campaign can’t be determined if there’s little access to clear data and reporting. While it’s possible to identify bot traffic in many analytics tools, the manual labor required to rework traffic data, and recalculate response rates, slows down program performance reviews, and requires the development of alternate reporting mechanisms outside those used across other channels

Money lost to bad traffic

 If bots deliver inflated clicks, Brands pay for those clicks. Depending on the commission structure or success metrics established for a specific campaign, this can result in gross overpayment in paid channels with little resource to secure cost reversals. Manual adjustments are possible but slow measurement and adjustment of core campaigns. For Brands that rely on high sales volume in opportunity seasons, fraud can disrupt results this year, and learning for next.


How does Block and Filter provide proactive protection against ad fraud in the affiliate channel?

Block and Filter proactively prevents the need for costly security measures due to fraudulent traffic

Block and Filter removed fraudulent traffic before it can impact performance and inaccurate reporting

Block and Filter continuously reports on fraudulent sources of traffic so Brands can target offenders and take action to prevent future fraudulent activity


How does Block & Filter work with a brand’s affiliate marketing program?

Block & Filter is a software solution that proactively monitors all incoming traffic and prevents problem traffic from ever reaching your site. Block & Filter analyzes the data behind each click and makes an instantaneous decision whether to let that traffic pass onto a site or to harmlessly redirect it away. 

This technology proactively stops bot traffic, fraud rings and click farms from ever negatively impacting your affiliate program, all without any detectable change to a customer’s user experience.

Block & Filter saves brands from: 

  • Paying commissions on non-bona fide transactions
  • Invalid leads or trial subscriptions coming through the affiliate channel
  • Fraud rings exploiting cashback and incentive publishers


Read the case study to see how Block & Filter tool stops and redirects fraudulent traffic