Digital advertising, whether it’s placed on search engines like Google or social media sites like Facebook, is the lifeblood of a successful ecommerce site. Shoppers can’t find a given retail brand if they don’t know it exists, and in a highly digital, post-COVID world full of choices, earning your share of traffic is critical. Getting the most mileage from every dollar spent on ads has become more important than ever.
However, any retailer looking to make the most of its ad spend will need to contend with fraudulent clicks from adversaries such as bots. U.S. ad spend losses are expected to reach $23 billion in 2022, accounting for 35% of losses worldwide, according to data from Juniper Research. These attacks can waste both money and effort, and for smaller brands like women’s jewelry retailer Gorjana, even a small amount lost to fraud can be noticeable.
“For us, getting every dollar is important,” said Kyle Brucculeri, VP of Ecommerce at Gorjana. “This is an 18-year-old business, not a startup. Also, we’re not capitalized. We don’t have VC funds behind us. We have to be very careful about spending that money in a way that isn’t sure to have a strong return on investment. I think the only way to do that is to make sure you’re running as efficiently as possible.”
Gorjana, which focuses on a Southern California vibe in its products and advertising, puts an emphasis on creating a relaxed, “beachy” but still luxurious vibe. Getting its message out to potential customers (rather than bots or fraudsters) is a key objective. The retailer has partnered with Edgemesh, tapping the solution provider’s Ad Protect to help combat click fraud, ad fraud and bot networks.
“If we’re cutting fraudulent traffic, that means either we have slightly less traffic and more conversions, or we’re replacing that fraudulent traffic with real users, which also increases our conversion rate,” said Brucculeri. “Either way it generates more value and revenue across our campaigns and across all areas of our funnel. It just stands to help us make more money, and when you look at how we spend money it’s about identifying winners and losers. Something like Ad Protect helps us key in on the winners.”
Gorjana is using the software to track the ad-click rate of each visitor. From there, Ad Protect automatically tags users and IP addresses once they reach a certain threshold — information that can be used to automatically exclude bad actors from future ad campaigns. This can make future ad spend more accurate and help it go further, minimizing the impact of ad fraud.
Additionally, because ads delivered to fraudsters or bots were never going to generate sales, Gorjana benefits even if total ad clicks decline. As a result, the improved results can be even greater for the retailer than just the flat amount saved from fraudulent clicks.
“Customers effectively have a set budget per day,” said Jake Loveless, CEO of Edgemesh in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Say you’ve got $100,000 a day that you’re going to spend on digital ads. If you start burning 10% of that on useless clicks, that doesn’t cost you $10,000. It costs you the $10,000 that you spent for nothing, plus the conversion rate that you would have gotten if you had actually sent those to real people.”
“I manage a pretty big budget here, and I spend a lot of money on ads,” said Brucculeri. “Efficiency is crucial in 2022 more than ever. Given the obstacles and challenges that are in the ecommerce landscape, you can’t waste anything.”