Conversion Rate Optimization

Common Fraud Types That May be Steeling Your Online Customers


If your online store has been operational for a while, you will most likely know about bots. For those who don’t know, bots are essentially computer programs emulating human interactions like visiting your site, liking your posts or clicking on ads. 

While your online ad may be getting thousands of impressions every day, the truth is that most of them aren’t even real shoppers. 

Click Farms

While bots can be quite damaging to any online business, sometimes there are actual people clicking on your ads. However, most of them aren’t relevant to who you target. In most cases, these people are low wage workers tasked to just click on as many ads as possible.  While these clicks may be increasing your CTR, most of your money actually goes in the hand of fraudsters. 

What makes matters worse is the fact that identifying this type of fraud can be more challenging compared to bots. According to a report, more than 90 percent of the views some online video sites get are actually fake. 

Domain Spoofing

This is a common type of ad fraud where fraudsters disguise themselves as premium publishers who aim to help your brand reach a massive market for more customers. This type of fraud works in 2 ways:

  1. The fraudster uses ad injections and malware
  2. They modify ad tags

Domain spoofing is more common than most people think. Surveys suggest that over 60 percent of online stores are targeted by multiple domain spoofing attacks. These attacks are capable of costing them over billions of dollars. 

The only viable solution to address domain spoofing is going through ad tech companies that offer ad verification services. These organizations work with exchanges, advertisers and publishers while making sure of appropriate ad security and delivery. 

Affiliate Fraud

Many online brands make use of affiliate marketing to increase their online sales. While partnering with affiliates to bring in new customers may seem attractive, there are some issues that leave e-commerce merchants perplexed. 

Infected web apps and browser extensions on your browser can insert ads from affiliate and cash back sites to your store. Such ads often promote coupons advertised on the affiliate sites, which lures your shoppers away. After this, the shoppers copy the discount codes from the cash back site and return to your in order to complete the purchase.

This means that the affiliate essentially lured a customer from your store instead of sending one towards you, harming your short and long term sales. 

Cookie Stuffing

Cookies collect the IP, purchase and browsing behavior, log in details etc of your online store’s visitors. While this may seem like a regular thing, but what will you do if numerous sites drop their cookies on your visitors browser without their consent? Well, that is what cookie stuffing is all about and it is often used by most affiliate sites and coupon sellers. 

A website that contains loads and loads of cookies can become a nuisance for customers, opening several tabs once a shopper visits it. In most cases, these tabs lead people to other websites, unknown software and pop-ups. While this type of ad fraud is quite old, it still exists today. The only way to steer clear from cookie stuffing is to establish parameters that help you tell the difference between abnormal and regular shopper behavior.

Ad Injections

Ad injections refer to unauthorized ad placement on your website. These ads are usually injected through web apps or browser extensions on the shopper’s browser. Usually, these ads tend to replace or overlay your site’s current content with advertisements from other websites. 

Stop Ad Fraud from Luring Your Customers Away

The digital landscape is expanding every single day and completely removing ad fraud from it can be quite challenging. Unfortunately, there will still be publishers, affiliates and coupon sites that will find ways to target your site and enter your customer’s browser. However, this does not mean you cannot fight back. 

It would be best to start by eliminating any distractions luring your customers away and the best way to do that is by using a reliable browser plug-in like conversion guard. 

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