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Tired of Fake Leads? 5 Ways to Stop Fake Leads Now

Fake leads are not just an annoyance, they can skew your marketing data and analytics, drain your marketing budgets and be a massive waste of time for your sales team. 

Learn why they happen, where they come from, and how to prevent them in this article. 

What are fake leads?

Fake leads are false, or deceptive, lead submissions to lead forms on your website. They often have irregular names and non-working email addresses or phone numbers. 

Why do fake leads happen?

There can be a few reasons why people (or bots) submit fake leads to your website. 

  • To give the illusion of better advertising performance: You will likely spend more money on websites that have more conversions for your business. If a user (or bot) clicks on your ad and then completes a lead form, that’s a strong signal to Google’s algorithm to run more of your ads on that website. 
  • To maintain confidentiality: Some fake leads are from real people that want to view your free ebook, or take advantage of your free trial offer, but prefer to be confidential. They do this by creating an account or completing a lead form with fake information. 
  • Affiliates attempting to earn more revenue: Affiliates are typically paid on a cost-per-lead basis. So malicious affiliates will submit leads on your website in order to generate more revenue. 
  • Cause harm to your brand reputation: Vengeful competitors or former employees may submit lead information that is real, but under an unknowing person’s name. When you attempt to call or email these leads, it may irritate them and result in backlash in bad public reviews or within their personal network. 
  • To promote a product to you: Some companies will complete leads forms with comments that attempt to sell you on their services. This is form spam.
  • To jumble your marketing analytics: This one is less common, but fake leads can be used to confuse your marketing analytics so you are less able to make sound marketing decisions. This is also the case for faking poll and survey results.

Where do fake leads come from?

There are several sources of fake traffic that can lead to contact form spam.

Bots: Bots are the most popular source for fakes leads because they can submit forms or create fake accounts very quickly and in large quanitites. It’s a massive problem and Facebook recently shared that 827 million of their accounts were fake and created by bots. This represents 4-5% of its active users.

Your competitors: These can include direct competitors, using humans to input junk data to mess with your legitimate leads. While this might sound petty, it is a practice that can be an effective way to waste a business rival’s ad budget (and their valuable time). This is usually done by hiring click farms to generate form submissions en masse.

Advertising on scammy websites: Google and Facebook have ad networks with millions of websites that run their ads. Many of these are low quality sites that are either scammy “Made for Advertising” sites or have malicious owners. In either case, they submit leads to give the illusion of strong ad performance so you’ll spend more money with them. Many other LinkedIn, Bing and AdRoll, among others, are also vulnerable.

Real people: Real people often submit forms with fake information to remain confidential (see section above).

5 Best ways to stop fakes leads

Here are some critical steps you can take to avoid fake leads:

  1. Use an email verification tool: We highly recommend adding an email verification tool to your email capture fields such as “ZeroBounce” or “Brightverify” (no relation to Fraud Blocker). These ensure the email is real before they can submit it. You can also require 2FA where a user needs to confirm their phone number or email address before proceeding with the form submissions by confirming a code.
  2. Use Honeypots: Honeypots are free and can help you identify bots so you can block them in the future. Honeypots are invisible fields within a lead form on a landing page that are not visible to human users. Bots scanning the code might fill these out, revealing their non-human nature. Using a honeypot can help prevent fake leads from lead forms and the like.
  3. Avoid AI-based ad targeting, such as “Performance Max”: This is a big one. Google has introduced several “smart” campaign types that love to spend your money and are often rife with fraudulent traffic. We have an entire write up on their two most-used AI-targeting campaign types: Performance Max and Demand Gen. Definitely reducing ad spend on those will help reduce your fake leads.
  4. Use software tools that prevent traffic from bots: There are many 3rd party software tools that help prevent bots from clicking on your ads or visiting your website. We recommend our leading ad fraud prevention tool, Fraud Blocker, but there are certainly a few others for you to check out depending on your needs.
  5. Exclude IP addresses: If you know how to capture IP addresses of your users that complete your lead forms, then you can record the ones that are bad and exclude those from your marketing campaigns. If you aren’t sure how to do that, then try using our platform, Fraud Blocker, to identify IP addresses in real time. 

BONUS – Consider CAPTCHA: This is the one we recommend *the least*. CAPTCHA helps identify real users from fake. There are many different types of CAPTCHA that can be used, however it’s been proven that bots complete these correctly more often than humans do. type of captcha - text captcha

Prevent fake leads with Fraud Blocker

As a paid search marketer, you spend the time and effort (and money) putting your ad campaigns together. But that effort is often wasted on bots, poor quality leads and nefarious practices that damage your campaigns and your budget.

Using Fraud Blocker is one of the best ways to block bots and stop fake leads from Google and Facebook ads campaigns.

Blocking fake leads is a multifaceted task. It requires a rigorous approach to identifying patterns that signify fake interactions. Implementing CAPTCHA on forms, improving form fields to include more qualifying questions, and using email and phone verification processes can help filter out insincere submissions.

Get better traffic with more qualified leads with Fraud Blocker. Try our 7-day free trial and see how much our software can help you.

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