It’s pretty disheartening to see the click fraud coming not from nefarious types hacking away in exotic locales, but from the advertising platforms themselves.
Some observers suggested that Facebook’s inflation of video viewing figures affected not only advertisers but also media outlets, many of which made a misguided decision to “pivot” to video, in the expectation that this was how to get people’s attention.
But really this is just another story in a long line of them in the murky world of advertiser safeguards for online advertising. This one though probably should dishearten small to medium sized businesses more than most. Why? Because if you can’t trust the platform itself and you don’t have an enterprise level IT staff to help audit all your digital media, then really what can you do?
Well, a few things. Because as frustrating as this digital advertising world can be for SMB, it’s still a pretty integral one, and one that when working can provide significant cost/benefit advantages over other typical SMB marketing efforts. Consider these strategies to make sure each click/view/swipe you pay for is legitimate.
Multiple Analytics for 20/20 vision
Frequently SMB relies on one analytics package to measure their online efforts. Adding one closer to their actual server logs is typically an affordable and effective way to double check the effectiveness of your campaigns, as well as provide additional visitor information. For example, a company using Google Analytics can affordably augment traffic stats with a service like Statcounter to provide more in depth reporting on campaign effectiveness.
Eschew The Branding and Sell Something
If you are testing new platforms, new ad campaigns, new media, put a concrete offer and call to action around it. And yes connecting campaigns to measurable customer outcomes means sometimes you have to make an offer. A targeted offer of course in the case of your digital media buying strategy. But an offer nonetheless. The numbers that most advertising platforms give to their advertisers can look impressive. But at the end of the day a call to action with an offer is what SMB should ultimately boil down each of their platform’s campaigns and measure the results accordingly.
Use Your Analytics Monitoring Tools
Every Analytics package these days comes with email notification monitoring tools. Google Analytics for example makes it easy to create custom alerts in just a few minutes:
Creating custom alerts can help measure if campaigns don’t meet predefined thresholds for typical analytics measurements such as bounce rate, goal conversions, pages per visit, visitor path, etc.
Click fraud, whether an outside job or an inside one, is a real and continuing threat to SMB marketing budgets for the foreseeable future. SMB would be wise to get ahead of this issue with simple tech upgrades and a monitoring strategy.