A bot, also known as an internet bot, are programs that run automated tasks on the internet. Usually, internet bots are intended to perform simple and repetitive tasks and enable their users to do things quickly and efficiently. Positively speaking, “good” bots have all kinds of uses on the internet like ad blocking or web indexing. For example, Google uses internet bots to browse the web and index web pages so that their users can find them easily through Google searches. Overall, internet bots today comprise of approximately half of the activity on the internet.
Unfortunately, not all bots are good. “Bad” bots are internet bots used by hackers who want to steal sensitive information and are responsible for most of the malicious activity that we encounter on websites. Bots that are malicious can gather passwords, spam social media pages, obtain financial information, and much more. In this blog post, we will explore 3 ways bots can affect your brand in a negative way.
Bots Can Affect Your Brand Reputation
It’s safe to say that most of you reading this blog have encountered a bad bot or two on the internet through hacked emails, spammed reviews, or an excessive number of comments on a social media post. One way that bots can affect your brand negatively is through your brand reputation.
For example, if a bad bot is successful in stealing valuable email addresses from your contact list, they can begin sending unwanted emails containing malicious links allowing hackers to steal sensitive data like your customers’ bank information. Bad bots can also create fake accounts and write fake product reviews that can ultimately frustrate your customers and drive business away.
Most of the time, once a company has experienced a data breech or cyberattack, especially a small or medium sized business, it’s often hard to recover completely. Several studies show that once a company has experienced a data breech, more than 70% claimed they would not trust that company again.
Bots Can Affect Your Analytics
Another way bots can negatively affect your brand is through your analytics. Bad bots can interfere with your online marketing campaigns by generating false clicks, impressions, or form fills which can ultimately skew your data and possibly lead to bad decisions for future marketing campaigns. Over time, this can lead to a long-term negative impact that will hurt your online marketing efforts.
Also, bots can click on your ads causing “click fraud” and can negatively impact your click-through rate (CTR). When this happens, bad bots ultimately end up affecting not just advertisers, but businesses as well with revenue loss from click fraud. These interactions by bad bots can lead you into a slippery slope where you are paying for ads that not only attract false bot clicks but also drain your advertising budget.
Bots Can Affect Your Website Speed
Oftentimes when bad bots invade your website, they will create a significant demand for data resources, and this increase in excessive requests may slow down your site and cause it to become unstable and create a large lag in speed. Ad bots, as mentioned above, can cause this since they introduce new interactions from your website that keep new users from navigating your site efficiently and quickly. If this continues to happen repeatedly, your users can get frustrated and ultimately decide to go elsewhere, damaging your website’s quality score. For many online businesses, it makes sense that your customers will have higher engagement rates when your website loads quickly, and when it doesn’t, this can go back to affecting brand loyalty and reputation. Sometimes even a one-second delay in page load can decrease customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, in today’s online world, there is no escaping good bots or bad bots. While good bots can greatly help an online business grow in many ways, bad bots can cause some expensive damage to a business. If business owners don’t take precautions in mitigating bad bots and their negative effects, you can run the risk of losing valuable customers, brand reputation, and revenue.
If bad bots are something your business has encountered lately, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our team will be glad to help create an action plan against bad bots to ensure they don’t continue to negatively affect your brand or business. Contact us today!