How the Fake Web Impacts ABM

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March 23, 2023

5 mins read

how the fake web affects abm

How the Fake Web Impacts ABM

As account-based marketers know well, having a thoughtful strategy for approaching key accounts and potential customers is critical for customer acquisition and business growth. Because of this, teams spend valuable time and resources identifying their ideal customer profile, crafting personas, training their sales teams, creating unique advertisements, and personalizing marketing materials with their ultimate objectives in mind.

However, there are some key factors that can stand in the way of even the most intelligent strategy and prevent teams from achieving success. Some of these potential issues can be caused by malicious users, bots, and fake users online. This group of threats is frequently referred to collectively as the ‘Fake Web.’ While the Fake Web is vast and can impact many areas of business – for the purpose of this article we will focus on the ways in which ABM departments and leaders can face the consequences of bad actors online.

Inaccurate Targeting

When it comes to attracting net new customers through ABM, one of the key tactics used is paid advertising. In order for campaigns to be effective in achieving ABM goals, they must be highly targeted and their messaging must resonate with the end viewer of the ad. Because of how specific these advertisements are, showing the wrong ad to the wrong audience can result in confusion and ultimately loss of customer trust. For this reason, a lot of time and data is put into the creation of audience lists for these campaigns. These audiences can be built on certain personas, target account lists, intent keywords, demographics, and other key factors.

The marketer then trusts that these campaigns will show the right ad to the right person at the right time. However, what if those campaigns somehow became polluted with bots and fake users? Unfortunately, this is not just a theoretical problem, but a harsh reality that many marketers are not even aware of. When fake users show high levels of engagement with previous campaigns, future campaigns then become optimized toward additional bots. This leads to wasted ad spend that could have been better used on real potential customers.

Skewed Conversion Metrics

When bots and fake users infiltrate ABM tactics, they don’t simply stop after clicking on an advertisement. In many cases these bad actors make their way to the brand’s website – either through those ABM ads, or organically – and continue to wreak havoc on the business’s key objectives.

One of such ways this occurs is through form fills and lead generation fraud. Bots may seek to fill out a form in order to gain access to privileged information or to access additional data about a company or their products for malicious use. But regardless of the motivation, these fake users do not have the intention or ability to convert into real paying customers and thus, skew important success metrics like impressions, engagement, site visits and more. Furthermore, it can confuse marketers when it comes to which channels they should continue investing in, which conversion points are the most compelling, and what level of interest their audience actually has in their offerings. In this sense, fake traffic can poison everything.

Sales and Marketing Misalignment

The next disruption we’ll discuss is a tale as old as time – marketing and sales misalignment.  There are many things that can cause friction between marketing and sales teams, but one of the most prevalent is this: marketing works hard to send leads to sales, but then sales is dissatisfied with the quality of those leads and thus loses trust in marketing. This cycle continues as marketing also gets frustrated because they are putting a lot of effort into acquiring those leads and may feel unappreciated.

When bots enter the picture, this problem only continues to grow. When bots are filling out forms and requesting demos, not only are they skewing metrics as previously mentioned, but they are also entering into funnels and taking up additional resources. This can include re-marketing campaigns, email nurture flows, and – last but not least – valuable time from sales that could be better spent on real potential customers. If this continues, it will add to the distrust of marketing leads and sales team members might choose to shift their focus toward leads from other – potentially less valuable – lead sources.

Reputational Damage

Since ABM strategies and tactics are designed to be highly targeted, and present very particular use cases and examples to the audience that will find them most relevant. If this goes awry, potential customers will become confused and might dismiss your offering as not relevant, when in reality they were simply reached with a message intended for someone else. Additionally, if creative is tested and implemented based on inaccurate information, and then decisions are made about which creatives work best and should be invested in more heavily, it’s extremely important that those tests are done with correct audiences and real potential buyers.

Otherwise, resources will be poured into channels, ads, or messages that might not resonate with a particular buyer, or worse – might not resonate with anyone. As you can imagine, unintentionally testing messages with groups of bots, or measuring success against how bots interact with campaigns can lead to a great deal of confusion, detrimental decision-making, and potentially irreversible reputational damage.

So What are Marketers Supposed to Do?

Each of these key ABM obstacles caused by the Fake Web can seem startling on an individual level, and outright overwhelming when considered collectively. However, there are steps that marketers can take to avoid the issues caused by bots and fake users and make strides to protect their business, increase marketing effectiveness, maintain favorable brand reputation, and ensure analytical accuracy.

Some of these steps are a bit tedious though and can include: sifting through ad campaigns and looking at the quality, frequency and source of interactions; auditing contact databases and CRMs; frequently creating new audiences built from fresh contacts that have proven to have genuine interest; and looking for anomalies within analytics platforms. Fortunately though, there are a few pieces of technology that can make these processes much more seamless and much less time consuming. This can include a Go-to-Market Security provider like CHEQ, and a smart and accurate ABM marketing platform like Demandbase.

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Go-to-Market Security, CHEQ

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B2B Go-To-Market Suite, Demandbase

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