CHEQ finds internet is nearing half a billion fake shoppers

CHEQ’s latest research shows fake users and bots are blurring the view of organisations forecasts and revenues, representing a growing cyber concern

CHEQ, a leading solution for Go-to-Market organisations looking to secure their business from invalid traffic (IVT), has released data revealing that 470 million 'online shoppers' are actually bots and fake users. 

The data presented by CHEQ came from analysing traffic on over 50,000 websites globally. The company ran thousands of cybersecurity tests and challenges to determine the legitimacy of each user within the retail sector. In the eCommerce space, it was found that these bots and fake users include malicious scrapers, fraudsters, and account take over bots. 

Increasing use of bots and fake users

Bots and fake users frequently click on paid advertisements intended for legitimate shoppers. This behaviour drains advertising budgets, and according to the new data, eCommerce sites lose US$2.34bn to invalid ad clicks. 

This means that if retargeting or smart audiences are being used, they can then become unintentionally optimised toward additional invalid users, which ultimately can make robust and thoughtful advertising campaigns ineffective and even unusable. 

"We have seen threats caused by the Fake Web specifically impact eCommerce businesses in a major way," said Guy Tytunovich, CHEQ's CEO. "An abundance of bots can lead to loss in customer trust, as well as private data leaks, and search visibility issues for the brand. This has become a strategic issue for retailers who want to maintain a sustainable business in the online world."

Bots influence on advertising 

The study found that 32% of all organic and direct traffic arriving at retailer websites came from invalid sources. Looking at the volume and frequency of traffic, CHEQ found nearly half a billion eCommerce website visitors each year are not authentic human users, and do not have the intent or ability to purchase. Among the prevalent schemes associated with eCommerce cyber activity are click fraud, credit card fraud, cookie stuffing, user journey hijacking and more.

This data is released at a time when about 70% of all online purchases start with a search engine query - indicating the potential of a rise in threats from organic search.

The numbers presented come from a broader CHEQ report on the scale and impact of eCommerce IVT. In addition to the influence of bots and fake users on organic and direct traffic, the report also found that billions of dollars are wasted on paid advertising clicks to retail websites, and additional revenue lost from bots abandoning carts.


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