The secret many gurus won't tell you is that they have (largely) built their lists with PAID traffic. I'll write about that another time. But more important than that is my warning to you about the danger of paying for Fake Traffic.

It's not just me who thinks this – here are a couple of well-respected sources.

$1 out of every $3 spent on advertising is lost because it has been unknowingly spent on ad fraud. Just in 2017, there was $16.4 billion in ad fraud loss.
Source: Entrepreneur and AdAge.

Learning About Fake Traffic

Yep –  most leaders are using paid traffic to build their lists, and nothing wrong with that, except they're not always quite as transparent as they should be, letting us mere mortals think they're building their lists “click-by-click”.

So, to follow their leads and build my own list, I decided to experiment with some paid traffic sources. The first one I tested was the one below.

fake traffic

Yes, you'll look at the spam emails above (sorted by name), all with the same sender name, and think I should have known better. Although in fairness to myself, I ordered my own mailing before I had seen the stream of promotions that followed, as affiliates jumped on board. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

But my thought process was….

  • I was buying through ClickBank who are known as a reputable affiliate network
  • Their target was supposed to be JVZoo buyers (although there are many different formats in the later mailings)
  • The cost was only about $20
  • The proven list-building funnel I was promoting was offering a product for $7. So even if I didn't make the 3 sales that would have covered the cost, I should end up with a fair few subscribers opted in.

So it seemed worth a punt. Results?

Zero sales. Zero opt-ins.

So I invoked their guarantee, and they emailed again. In fact they actually sent more than 20,000 visitors, as shown in the tracking link below.

fake traffic
I'm sure I'm supposed to think, “Oh it's only $20, I'll forget about it”. But I'm not going to. I've complained to ClickBank, and look forward to my refund – and hopefully to getting this clown stopped.

Update 2 Days Later:  ClickBank have processed my refund without question. I'm guessing I wasn't the first.

But that's not the point of this article.

How To Track Your Links

The point is to show the importance of tracking your links, and you'll see from the above image that I was using where you can start free, then upgrade to a paid plan for more features.

But then a trusted colleague pointed out to me that for less than the price of the paid version of Bitly, I could have a starter account with ClickMagick, which would give me all I needed. He encouraged me to take a free trial of ClickMagick to discover all its features in the guide inside. Here's what you'll learn in their guide:

link tracking

So now I'm implementing what I have learned and ready to start tracking my links when I buy paid traffic.

To learn these dangers, take a free course on list building, click here.

Tracking Facebook Clicks

You'll see from Part 6 – Bots and Click Fraud – that about half of clicks aren't even real (FC in the images below). So I began to wonder about the time I was spending posting on Facebook and decided to make a ClickMagick link for Facebook posts.

Here's a section of what I found for one period I monitored:

[one_half_first]Fake Traffic Is Costing You Money 1

The meaning of the headings is:

TC = Total clicks your link received

UC = Unique clicks (so if the same person clicks the link 5 time you'd see 5 total clicks, but just 1 unique.

FC = Flagged clicks: Bot or other suspicious clicks, not included in the primary stats.


Fake Traffic Is Costing You Money 2

(The totals don't add up because this is just a part of all the results.)

From the totals you'll see that while, in this trial, I have 244 good clicks, 73 are Bot / Suspicious. If you take out the paid mailing I am testing which has delivered 140 total (good) clicks and 8 Flagged Clicks, you're left with 140 non-flagged clicks vs 73 flagged. Roughly the half suggested in the guide.

My coding system is that links ending or starting in FB are from Facebook groups, and those ending in BLOG are from my blog. The rest are other sources I have been trying out, and so far I haven't done much testing, just enough to convince me that posting in Facebook groups is delivering many Bot clicks, and depressingly, even my blog is too.

So you'll understand that I'm not keen to spend more time on ‘free' Facebook group posts.

One one day, when I wasn't doing any active promotion, but just relying on previous ‘free' traffic, I had three times as many Flagged Clicks as Total Clicks. Ouch!

Tracking On My Blog

In the past I have used the free plugin Pretty Link to cloak and track the number of clicks on my blog, but although it tells me the number of clicks and the IP address, it doesn't flag bad clicks.  So that's not particularly helpful. However, I can tell by comparing the Pretty Link IP address clicks against those I have blocked for spam, that many of those clicks came from IPs I have now black-listed. Furthermore, the free version of Pretty Link removed a facility I needed, so I had to move to the paid version. I still like Pretty Link, and it's embedded deep within my blog, but I think ClickMagick is better value.

What To Do Next

find fake trafficApart from the 140 in the TC column, the traffic in the image above was mostly so-called free traffic, which from the results above, doesn't appear to be worth the time I'm spending on it. You may be getting better, ‘fake-traffic-free', results from your Facebook marketing, but unless you're tracking it, you won't know.

I'm only just starting to test sources of paid traffic, but now I have ClickMagick, at least I can make an informed decision as to whether it's worth my while using a particular paid traffic source again.

ClickMagick is the next-generation funnel tracking and marketing optimization platform that helps you generate more leads, conversions and revenues from the same traffic you're already getting. Most importantly it helps you distinguish between fake traffic and good traffic when you're building your list with paid traffic.

When you use my ClickMagick affiliate link, watch for the free trial.

stop fake traffic