Many ad platforms, including Google Ads and Facebook employ bots to check on the quality and integrity of the ads served on their network. Often times, these bots come from locations outside the desired target area of a particular campaign or account.
While this bot traffic can sometimes be annoying to pull out of performance analytics, you can rest assured money is NOT spent on it. Bot traffic does not eat up your ad spend. Additionally, if you dive into the Facebook and Google Ads reporting, you can see audiences outside the target area ARE NOT actually targeted, even though the traffic may appear inside your Google Analytics.
Scroll down and read below to learn more about removing this traffic from your analytics reporting.
What is Bot Traffic?
It is possible that even though your dealership is nowhere near California, you have noticed that you are receiving a substantial amount of traffic on your website from places like Irvine, California, or Dublin, Ireland, Lulea, Sweden, Prineville, Oregon, Forest City, North Carolina, Altoona, Iowa, Ashburn, Virginia for example where Facebook's servers are located. In the image below, you can see a dealer from Colorado with significantly more traffic from California.
This traffic is generated by Facebook and Google Ad bots going to your website to pull relevant information to check a) the landing page exists and b) that the content of the page is relevant to the ad. We know that this traffic is generated by bots as the bounce rate is very high and session duration is very low.
Why am I seeing more BOT traffic now than I was before?
Normally, Google analytics is able to remove bot traffic from their calculations, however, the Facebook bot has been able to slip through this filter. It is an industry-wide error that Google and Facebook are aware of. You are not being charged for this traffic. Facebook's impressions do not take these views into account. In the image below, you can see the dealer from Colorado with all impressions from Colorado in Facebook Ads Manager, and none from California.
It's important to understand why you may be seeing an increase in this BOT traffic; previously your accounts had a smaller amount of ads and a more finite amount of ad changes (likely because humans were setting up limited ads and campaigns with very little real-time optimization taking place). Because the site was checked less frequently, the smaller amounts of BOT traffic were negligible however, now that you are using an AI driven, programmatic marketing technology at scale, there are thousands of ads generated and dozens of daily ad changes. Therefore, FB and Google are monitoring more frequently, and accordingly, the “out of geo” traffic has increased.
How to remove bot locations from my Google Analytics?
1. Go into Google Analytics and click on " +Add a segment"
2. Click on "Conditions"
3. Create a filter where "City/ Country" "Does not exactly match" "Irvine", "sweden" etc.
This new segment will now show you all of your traffic, without taking bot location traffic into consideration.