How to control fraudulent affiliate traffic?

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Working with CPA networks, we have all faced the problem of use of forbidden traffic, such as hidden toolbars, pop-under, brand context, and many others.
In this article we will share with you the ways to easily detect these types of fraud.

All types of traffic have their own behavioral characteristics that distinguish them: for example, an abnormally low number of page views, a high rate of order cancellation, a relatively low time spent on the site or an extremely high conversion rate.

Below are some examples of KPIs to monitor to identify the most common types of prohibited traffic and how to respond efficiently.

1. Control of hidden toolbars

How to identify it?
Share of new visits below 1%

This KPI is used to control hidden toolbars that rewrite tracking codes from other sources.
This fraud is difficult to catch but can be identified through its rate of new visitors of less than 1%. Indeed, the rewriting of a tracking code is done on an existing visitor, resulting in an abnormally low rate of new visitors.
By setting the trigger at 1%, you will avoid confusion with retargeting, which has a higher rate of new visits.

How to react?
First of all, disable this affiliate from your affiliate program. Then, cancel all orders from this affiliate for the current month in the affiliate platform interface.
Finally, provide your platform with screenshots of a few order conversion paths to prove that this affiliate rewrote tracking codes in less than a minute after the previous source.

Nowadays, some malicious affiliates use multiple sources of traffic to hide their fraud, in order to artificially increase their rate of new visits for example. That is why we strongly recommend that TrackAd users use the report on affiliates’ suspicions of toolbars. Thanks to this report, you will have all the information you need for your arbitration:
. the list of orders by affiliate with tracking codes rewritten in less than 1 minute after the previous source
. the ratio between suspicious orders and the total number of orders generated by this affiliate

2. Pop-under traffic control

How to identify it?
Bounce rate greater than 80%

Pop-under is very easy to detect because it generates a high volume of traffic with a very high bounce rate and a very low conversion rate. The 80% bounce rate is based on market statistical indicators.

How to react?
First of all, disable this affiliate from your affiliate program. Then, cancel all orders from this affiliate for the current month in the affiliate platform interface.
Finally, provide your platform with a screenshot of your analytical solution with the affiliate’s bounce rate.

It is important to react quickly to Pop-Under traffic, as it affects the quality of your indexation in search engines, mainly Google. Indeed, the sharp increase in poor quality traffic – high bounce rate, short time on the site, few page views – has a direct impact on search engine robots.

3. Brand context control

How to identify it?
Pages per visit, time on site and conversion rate are similar to those of your SEA brand campaigns

How to react?
If all performance indicators match those of your SEA brand campaigns, ask the platform for comments on the affiliate in question. If the type of traffic reported (e.g. Blogger) does not match the affiliate’s performance indicators, ask to disable it immediately.
In parallel, we recommend that you generate some brand requests in Google search engine in order to try to produce evidence of the affiliate’s activity on the brand context. However, affiliates generating this type of traffic usually do not advertise in the geographical area of the company’s headquarters, in order to limit the risk of being caught.

It is important not to confuse traffic from brand context with cashback and discount vouchers sites, which have similar user behavior. However, there is one indicator that distinguishes them. This is the conversion rate which is on average 3 times higher for cashback and coupon sites than for traffic from brand context.

In order to ensure that you are not abused by any of these frauds, we recommend that you repeat these checks twice a month.
And make sure you always know who you are working with. The best control is done before the collaboration with an affiliate.

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