As a website owner, KPIs (key performance indicators) and analytics play a huge role in your success. Monitoring traffic, tracking conversions and noting acquisition sources can give you the insight you need to make powerful changes that improve your sales, your performance and your bottom line. Unfortunately, as web bots increase in prevalence (according to Medialink, they make up a quarter of all web traffic now), the efficacy of various KPIs and analytic points has been affected. Web bots can make it difficult to implement meaningful change at your company and can hinder your online efforts at sales, customer acquisition and more.
The Effect of Web Bots on Data
Theft and fraud web bots can negatively impact your site’s KPIs and analytics data in numerous ways, making it nearly impossible to extrapolate any useful information.
Web bots can affect several areas of your KPIs:
- SEO. If your site is flooded with web bots, your page views and overall site traffic will appear higher than they really are. This will inflate your traffic numbers and give you an inaccurate view of how well your website is actually performing. Web bots can also skew your conversion rate—a major KPI for most website owners. Since they won’t make purchases or download content, they can cause your conversion rate to appear lower than it should be (especially with the increased traffic numbers). However, fraudulent form submissions or clicks can also artificially inflate your conversion rate. Automated traffic can also slow down servers by making a high volume of requests on a website, and since site speed and page load time are factors in your organic rankings, web bots can negatively impact your SEO rankings even further. Spammy links and comments and duplicate content caused by web bots can even cause you to be penalized by Google. KPIs impacted: Page Rank, Pageviews, Conversion Rate, and Lost Revenue.
- PPC. Fraudulent clicks on your paid ads and display ads can drive up your CPC costs, deplete your budget and lower the overall efficacy of your campaign. You won’t be able to tell which clicks were fraudulent and which actually gave you legitimate customer leads. This makes it hard to calculate an accurate CPA (cost per acquisition) and can cause your marketing costs to skyrocket. KPIs impacted: CTR, CPA, Marketing Costs, and Lost Revenue.
- Costs. The effects of web bots on your site can result in increased marketing and IT support costs, decreased margins, and lost revenue. Over time, these costs build up, and can eventually prove lethal to your business. KPIs impacted: Revenue, Margin, Marketing Costs, and IT Support Costs.
- Legal. The damage done to your business by duplicate content or theft of branded materials may be harder to quantify, but is still a significant issue. If your email lists or database of customers’ personal information are compromised or stolen by web bots, you could face backlash from your users, whether in terms of legal repercussions or simply the bad PR. Will you need to resort to legal action to regain counterfeited branded material? These legal fees can add up. KPIs impacted: Legal Costs and Revenue.
Over time, the negative effects of bot traffic can start to severely influence your web strategy, throwing your company off track. They can lead to wasted money, time and effort, and lost sales.
Blocking Bots Can Help
Because bots can wreak such havoc on your KPIs, strategy and bottom line, it’s important to take measures to block them as best you can. Bot protection software is a valuable investment with a huge payoff. Not only can it prevent damage to your KPIs and analytics, but it can also stop content theft, click fraud, form and comment spam and more. This means you’ll be able to offer your customers a faster, more professional experience. Plus, reducing the amount you’re currently wasting due to fraudulent clicks and traffic can immediately increase your ROI, because your money will be going towards actual potential leads.
If you’re looking to prevent bots from skewing your KPIs and analytics, then stay tuned for our next post. We’ll discuss bot blocking techniques, as well as what to look for in a bot prevention program.
About the Author
Courtney Brady is the Director of Marketing at Distil Networks. She comes to Distil Networks from a variety of start-up companies, routed in SaaS and DaaS solutions. Formerly the global communications manager at multiple companies, Courtney is responsible for developing the company’s marketing strategy and branding campaign.Follow on Twitter More Content by Courtney Brady