According to a new report from online ad-platform maker Solve Media, ten percent of online traffic is generated by bots, computer programs that automate tasks. This could result in as much as $1.5 billion in ad spending wasted on fake “clicks” this year.
eMarketer predicts online display ad spending will reach $15.3 billion this year. But with bot surge on the rise, more clicks are generated by software, not people, CNET News reports.
Since 2011, Solve Media has observed a 400 percent increase in “aberrant traffic” through online registration, voting, commenting and contact services.
Bots have become a big problem for online advertisers and publishers. Not only do they create fake clicks that cause companies to pay for ads that aren’t actually seen by human beings, they are also responsible for generating false user accounts, inappropriate comments and stolen content, reports CNET.
The social media giant, Facebook, has faced heavy criticism about clickbots. The company gets paid whenever someone clicks on an ad that advertises an ad client’s page.
Many Facebook ad buyers have objected to paying for fake ad clicks. A few months ago, Limited Run, a service that allows labels, musicians and artists to create their own stores for selling digital and physical products, eliminated its Facebook page because it discovered 80 percent of clicks were coming from bots.
Solve Media determined the wasted ad-spending figures by reviewing approximately 100 million monthly identity authentications across 5,000 publishers from January 2011 to August 2012.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with this assessment? Should social media giants such as Facebook institute security measures for its clients? If so, how could it be done? Or are online ads a thing of the past?