For decades, telecommunication providers have been engaged with the risks and impact of voice fraud. With legacy technologies not built to address voice fraud, it’s an expensive and time-intensive challenge to find the vulnerabilities in networks, draw up an action plan, and implement a solution, all to save your business money that would otherwise be lost to fraudsters.
However, while telcos have been investing in anti-fraud systems to stop revenue leakage from voice fraud for years, they have yet to address invalid traffic and fraud in their marketing campaigns. The opportunity in campaign optimisation is massive and much more straightforward compared to constantly evolving cyber threats on their networks.
In a market where thin margins are being eroded by over-the-top (OTT) players and subscriber growth is a key benchmark, stopping invalid traffic can be one of the fastest and simplest ways to improve a telco’s bottom line.
Breaking down invalid traffic and ad fraud
Invalid Traffic is generated by actions that provide no legitimate value to the advertiser and covers both fraudulent activities as well as accidental clicks—in essence, any activity that doesn’t come from a real user with genuine interest is invalid. Any traffic that does not meet quality or completeness criteria is not included in measurement counts.
Invalid traffic becomes fraudulent when it is created intentionally to force businesses to pay for traffic that has no value to them, including domain spoofing, ad stacking, and pixel stuffing. With no awareness or protection in place, the presence of invalid traffic renders campaign data unreliable, misdirects optimisation efforts and ultimately prevents your PPC advertising from reaching its full potential.
For telcos, the key is gaining visibility into click traffic and understanding where the true value is. For businesses using Google Ads, the goal is to target intent-driven prospects and lead them to high-converting landing pages. With invalid traffic dominating your marketing data and eating up your budget, your marketing metrics will be skewed and it will be difficult to get an accurate picture of pay-per-click (PPC) campaign results.
Why it matters for telcos
Fixed service providers, mobile service operators (MNOs), and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) face intense competition for new subscribers in the current market. By optimising PPC campaigns, telecommunication providers can directly impact engagement with real consumers and, in turn, deliver real ROI.
MNOs and MVNOs invest heavily in marketing but without proactive implementation of protective and defensive measures, could be losing 20% or more of their PPC spend to invalid traffic. If a telco has a $50,000 PPC budget per month, it could be losing $10,000. This is a significant portion of your marketing spend, and money that could be reinvested into bandwidth expansion or user experience.
More importantly, you are also losing opportunities to engage real users and convert them into subscribers.
I’ve personally seen the true cost of invalid traffic to telcos. Over a two-week period, 20% of the 40,000 clicks in an MVNO’s PPC traffic were invalid, and 50% of this invalid traffic came from bots, hosts and malware. Overall, $20,000 of its $100,000 in ad spend was lost to invalid traffic.
In these scenarios, the budget isn’t just lost, it’s not working hard enough to meet marketing and business goals. Marketing teams need more visibility into their PPC traffic to understand which data is accurate and should be used when allocating marketing budgets.
Driving forward pay-per-click ROI
Telcos need transparency into their traffic and the tools to address a complex problem. With the right platform, they will be able to gain clarity on all campaign attributes at the click level. They will be able to stop bot-driven traffic while using validation tools to cap clicks and have budget re-invested in engaging more users in real-time. Automated traffic removal means marketing teams don’t need to allocate resources to traffic management or need technical skills to deliver new performance and accuracy in PPC campaigns.
It is all about activating budget that was previously wasted on invalid traffic. The outcomes for telcos are greater opportunities to engage, capture potential subscribers, and generate new revenue. They can compete with maximum budget utilisation and will see that campaign optimisation is a competitive advantage over other organisations that have yet to address the problem. At the same time, marketers can demonstrate greater value in their digital marketing while clearly showing that the results they deliver are real. It truly is a win-win from the C-suite through to marketing execs running campaigns.
An investment worth making
Stopping invalid traffic in PPC campaigns can create competitive advantages for telcos. With the right ad verification and fraud prevention protection partner, the money you invest into your protection from fraud will easily be outweighed by the potential savings, and that is before you begin to factor in the increase in customer conversion opportunity.
In a market that is laser-focused on capturing new subscribers and upselling services, every click has to count. Telcos shouldn’t accept invalid traffic as a certainty of PPC campaigns, and the huge losses that come with it. When a telco addresses undetected invalid traffic in its campaigns, it can reduce losses from ad fraud and reinvest the recovered budget back into what really counts.