This is a guest blog post from CHEQ, the leader in Go-to-Market Security.

Professionals from all fields who work with data know the importance of having an accurate and reliable source of truth. After all, in today’s world, nearly every business decision is made based on data.

Unfortunately, at the same time, bots and fake users are becoming more and more of a strategic business problem, and data management is not immune. Some recent reports show that data skewed by fake traffic costs businesses $697 billion annually.

The presence of bots and fake users within data management systems can take all the hard work data professionals put in, and all investments in advanced BI systems and make them essentially obsolete. Throughout this article we will cover 3 common ways data can become impacted by the Fake Web.

Fake Contact Records Appear

When bots and fake users arrive on a website, they can engage with content and even fill out forms and request products and services. Through these actions, they enter a contact database even though they do not have the intention or ability to convert into legitimate paying customers.

This pollution of contact databases can cause a few immediate problems.

First, business development teams may waste valuable time and resources trying to nurture and engage with these contacts. Second, since many contact databases are priced per number of contacts, this can also inflate software bills unnecessarily. Thirdly, this takes time and attention away from real paying customers who may be ignored due to misallocation of resources.

Conversion Rates Become Inaccurate

When looking at the customer journey, data-driven professionals want to determine which points in that journey customers are most engaged in as well as where they may become disinterested. This data can inform where the company can improve their engagement touchpoints with potential customers, and also gain insight into which touchpoints are already successful.

However, bots may be engaged at different points in the funnel than actual customers. If a company assumes that all website visitors are real humans with positive intent, they might think that their conversion rates are high at the beginning of the customer journey, but lower as they get closer to a purchase point.

When in reality the opposite may be true after filtering out any bot traffic and revealing the true actions of human users versus fake users. This impacts future business strategy and could lead to misinformed actions being taken on a large scale.

Bad Actors Mask their Identities

If data does not account for users who mask their identities, then all data is taken at face value. If a given user claims that they are from a specific country, and are accessing a website from a specific operating system, and that data is ingested without first being tested for validity, the data professional analyzing that data has no choice but to believe it.

By this point, one can imagine that malicious actors on the internet often manipulate their data to appear to look like a certain type of user that fits a business’s typical customer profile in order to stay under the radar. This can wildly skew the type of visitors that actually interact with a given website.

Eliminating the Impact of the Fake Web in Data Analysis

Today, the Fake Web impacts nearly every area of business, and since data is at the heart of most businesses, it should be carefully analyzed and protected. For this reason, many data professionals are adopting Go-to-Market Security as part of their tech stack. Since accurate data is so essential, it follows that it should be free from bots and fake users.

Moreover, data professionals add a transformation layer to further remove the noise from bots and fake users in their data pipelines. They discover specific patterns and characteristics of these noises and turn them into a set of rules to filter out these noises. This way can make sure their data is clean enough before they start to do analysis or build dashboards.

Author: Kerry Coppinger | Senior Manager, Brand Marketing @ CHEQ

CHEQ is the go-to-market team’s security suite, trusted by over 12,000 customers worldwide to protect their funnels, sites, and analytics from bots and fake users. Powered by award-winning cybersecurity technology, CHEQ offers the broadest suite of solutions for securing the entire funnel, from paid marketing to on-site conversion, data and analytics.