“BotGuard has automated the process of identifying bot traffic with sophisticated algorithms, and gives growth marketers the tools they need to exclude ‘non-human’ traffic from paid media campaigns and analytics platforms.” - David Bakey, former VP, Direct-to-Consumer, Harry's
What could you do if you were a million people online? You could pretend to be a search affiliate and get paid for sending a million people to a brand site. You could enter a sweepstakes a million times a second and be practically guaranteed to win it, stealing the chance from real customers. But how? By pretending to be real humans online - with bots.
The global pandemic ignited digital acceleration for not only brands, but for cybercriminals as well. Brand interactions and transactions with customers online are skyrocketing like never before. Digital performance is no longer a competitive advantage - it’s make or break, and sadly, bad actors are getting in on all the action.
Unfortunately for brands, spending marketing resources on bots diverts those investments from engagement with real human audiences and customers, driving up costs and lowering digital performance. Yet the status quo is that while this abuse, known as marketing fraud, may be happening, it’s difficult to understand whether and how bot traffic is impacting campaigns and site traffic, let alone do anything to stop it. It’s... a cost of doing business? That kind of thinking ends here.
Today I’m excited to share that with HUMAN, it’s never been easier to see, understand and keep bots out of your digital marketing funnel. With recently announced enhancements to HUMAN’s BotGuard solution including BotGuard for Growth Marketing, we’ve made it easier to integrate and automate industry leading protection from marketing fraud. Read about the exciting enhancements below and be sure to get in touch with us for either a product demo or a free 30-day detection evaluation.
Finding the most hard to spot bots
Judging a bot from a real human online can be tough, especially when the signs are hidden deep in the ‘footprint’ of today’s sophisticated and constantly evolving bots. But once you’ve determined bot indicators in certain online traffic, you can spot the same bot traffic anywhere, wherever it goes online. The problem for most brands is that they can only observe ‘bot or not’ in their own site traffic, so even if they spotted bots in one day’s traffic, noting the profile so that they could match and spot the same bots upon return, the next day’s bots can look totally different, ie. previously unseen and therefore more difficult to detect and understand.
At HUMAN, we are constantly spotting bots all over the internet. In fact, due to our MediaGuard solution for ad fraud prevention, practically every ad on the internet is a sensor for our Human Verification Engine built for ‘bot or not’ decision making. Because we see and verify the humanity of so many interactions --more than 10 trillion weekly-- we have become better than anyone at knowing ‘bot or not’ for any interaction anywhere on the internet, whether on display ads, websites or user applications and across desktop, mobile, and Connected TV (CTV) environments.
But if it’s hard to decide whether a particular interaction is ‘bot or not’ if you haven’t observed the particular bot footprint of that interaction before, then how does our Human Verification Engine detect the most sophisticated, newly minted bots we’ve never witnessed before (even by our ad fraud ‘sensors’ deployed all over the internet)?
Well, we have some very smart, dedicated and well connected bot hunting folks on our Satori Threat Intelligence and Research team that proactively search the darkest corners of the internet for undiscovered bots. They dig deep to find the most disguised and undetected threats, and then integrate that intelligence back into our Human Verification Engine so that it can detect emerging indicators of bot traffic before they ever reach your digital front door. If you’re interested in learning more, check out some of the Satori team’s investigative botnet takedowns including 3ve, TERRACOTTA, and PARETO.
Bringing bot intelligence to the marketing stack
All of this is interesting (at least to us it is), but at this point you may be asking, “Why should I care?”. We talked about fake interactions with ads, websites and applications, but what about fake bots in your audience data and marketing stack?
Bot wielding cybercriminals and bad actors are following marketing investments to the end of the digital funnel, from monetizing fake ad impressions to site traffic acquisition and lead generation campaigns. HUMAN sees across our customers that 6.5% of site traffic on average sourced from paid search and social channels is made up of sophisticated bots. And once in your campaigns, your entire marketing stack is susceptible to storing and acting on fake bot audiences made up of bogus or stolen user data.
What if you could integrate the world’s best ‘bot or not’ decision engine into your marketing stack, to prevent targeting, remarketing, data enrichment and attribution for bot audiences, automatically? BotGuard for Growth Marketing’s new Automatic Detargeting feature does exactly that by detecting bot site traffic and seamlessly informing third party marketing systems in real-time. It works using a Tag (aka ‘pixel’) Manager to send bot events detected by our Human Verification Engine to downstream systems such as ads audience targeting, remarketing, DMP/CDPs, analytics, and multi-touch attribution. Are you using Google Analytics, Facebook, Taboola, or Microsoft Audience Network? Any marketing system that supports actioning based on Tags can be configured to receive HUMAN’s ‘bot or not’ intelligence and react accordingly, automatically.
Set, forget, and act - with speed and intelligence
All that configuration sounds really fun, right? Don’t worry, we created an easy to follow, in-app wizard to take you through things, step by step. But for those of you who don’t enjoy assembling your own IKEA furniture, we provide a single-click option that will set everything up for you behind the scenes (just bring your user credentials for third party systems). And you can always count on our dedicated Customer Success team to help out along the way.
Once integrations and configuration of third party marketing systems are complete using the HUMAN Dashboard wizard or single-click option, you can forget everything you learned about bot profiling (unless you want to nerd out with us about it, then we’re all ears). Our Human Verification Engine together with your marketing stack will march on hand-in-hand, automatically taking the right actions for you, so you can stop spending your precious marketing dollars and time on fake bot audiences. You’ll be able to sit back and watch your conversion rates go up and acquisition costs go down as your audience quality improves, becoming more human, automagically in the background. It works - trust us (or read on, for a case study).
All this technology and automation is great, of course, but what about keeping it human? We know that marketers want access to data and data based insights to make their own expert decisions and optimizations. The new BotGuard for Growth Marketing Dashboard, based on Looker, is designed to make it easier to navigate, understand and take action on detailed site traffic analysis including the source (by UTM source and campaign) and complete on-site journey of bot traffic and trends over time. By proliferating UTM parameters to all events of a session, BotGuard for Growth Marketing provides visibility of not only where bot traffic is coming from and where it lands, but how it navigates your site intra-session, so you can understand the impact of bot traffic sources on key on-site interactions and events.
In addition, the improved Dashboard Summary view presents information in a more streamlined, hierarchical manner, immediately presenting macro-level KPIs and allowing deeper drill-down analysis through clicking-in on items of interest. The setup and scheduling of custom reports has been made more intuitive, and now supports custom event based alerting and notification.
Image 1: Automated De-Targeting with Advertising Systems
Image 2: BotGuard for Marketing Dashboard
Conquer your FOFO
At HUMAN, we’re certain that growth marketing performs better with BotGuard. The proof is in the data. Our customers have even A/B tested campaigns with and without our service, demonstrating higher conversion rates and lower costs per acquisition when BotGuard is detecting and detargeting bot audiences in real-time. What’s more, we’ve observed improvements in authentic audience targeting over time when bot audiences are flagged to marketing systems. So we can say with complete confidence: it’s cheaper and easier to find and interact with real humans when bots aren’t getting in your way.
Conquer your fear of finding out (FOFO) who’s a real human or not on your site and in your audience segments. You may be unpleasantly surprised, but great news - you’ll be able to do something about it. Be a marketing fraud trailblazer. Be a hero because less bots means a safer internet. We can help you spot and eliminate the bad bots in your audiences, all it takes is a single line of code. Get started with a free 30-day detection evaluation.