Research from cybersecurity company CHEQ shows that more than 40% of all traffic online is invalid. For marketers, where fake traffic is present, audiences, customer data platform (CDP) segments and CRMs become “polluted” and campaigns become optimized toward fake users and revenue opportunities are missed.
In 2022, global spend on digital advertising surpassed $600 billion. By applying the average invalid rate for paid traffic against this number, CHEQ estimates $35.7 billion of ad spend was wasted on fake traffic in 2022 by analyzing more than a billion site visits from the 15,000 companies it works with to weed out bots and other fake web activity.
In the State of Fake Traffic 2023 released last week, CHEQ estimates that in 2022 11.3% of all traffic was fake, 5.9% of paid traffic was fake, 5.7% of organic traffic was fake, and 22.1% of direct traffic was fake.
The data also shows 1 in 10 visitors was not authentic, 1 in 50 visitors had malicious intent, $35.7 billion of ad spend was wasted, and $142.8 billion in revenue was lost.
The fake traffic attempting to access advertising and marketing websites amounted to 7.9% of all site traffic. Paid contributed 4.9%, direct 7.5%, and organic 5.7%.
Threat types as a percentage of total fake traffic in advertising and marketing in 2022 include:
The growth of fake traffic in 2022 was broad across all types but there increase more than the rest:
Fake traffic rates by referral sources like paid search ads include:
The top threats as a percentage of all fake traffic in 2022 include: