The ugly truth about bots and your banner ads.

Written by 5ivecanons Staff

To display or not to display, that is the question. And with some data showing over 70 percent of banner ad impressions are fraudulent – why do it?

Display (or banner) advertising has been around for several years now and it is a successful way to show your advertisement to many people. Although the world of banner ads is not what it once was.


Back in the early 2000’s banner ads were much more successful at creating conversions than the ads we see today. According to a report written by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), in the year 2000 banner ads were responsible for 47 percent of all online ad revenue.

Banner ads were a hot commodity and consequently the banner ad market shot up. Banner ads helped Internet spending grow to an $8.2 billion market, which was the highest ever up until that point. Although we still had an antagonist at the time too, and this villain was played by the dreaded pop-up ad.


Pop-up ads were the opposite of banner ads. They had very low conversion rates and were wildly seen as a nuisance versus banners. It was more common for people to go out of their way to install a pop-up blocker, just so they could avoid all the annoying constant pop-up ads.

Now we skip forward to today, where banner ads are still relevant and still very much useful. But the story hasn’t changed, there is still an evil villain lurking in the shadows of the Internet … Bots.

Up to 72 percent of banner ad clicks can be attributed to bots.

Bots are automated computer programs the scour the Internet looking for banner ads, and once they find them they click them, and click them a lot. This is where we find the fraudulent metrics behind today’s banner ads. If you looked at the conversion rates behind banner ads you would mostly see extraordinary conversion numbers, but the truth is that up to 72 percent of these conversions are due to bots, not actual people.

There is a strong reason why there are so many bots clicking on banner ads, and in the simplest of terms it is because of cash.

Those who sell banner ad space are inclined to charge you more for their reality if they have the numbers to prove that a lot of traffic goes through their banner ads. Simply, the more clicks a banner ad gets, the more they can charge.

So it all boils down to this one question, should you still run banner ads in today’s digital market where fraud is prevalent? We can answer that questions with another question – will the banners get in front of the right target audience?

Banner ads have the potential to be extremely successful. They can increase brand recognition, sell products and drive traffic to your site, but in order for this to happen you need to make sure you target the right people.

Yes, there will be fraud, your metrics and conversion rates behind the banner ads will be skewed because of bots, but the pay off from reaching real people and growing brand recognition will benefit your business much more in the long run. Learn more about fraud through the sources from our research or give us a shout to talk about display marketing for your brand @ 904-353-2900.