CHEQ: Why it Has Proven to be the Most Accurate Solution for Click Fraud - Social Media Explorer
CHEQ: Why it Has Proven to be the Most Accurate Solution for Click Fraud
CHEQ: Why it Has Proven to be the Most Accurate Solution for Click Fraud

Since CHEQ for PPC launched, it has attracted quite a lot of buzz, mainly due to the fact that it’s the first solution to secure customer acquisition across all major paid search and paid social platforms. This includes Facebook,Google, Snapchat, Bing, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn and even Snap. Customer acquisition teams spent $144 billion  in 2020 on paid social and paid search campaigns, but one in ten clicks turn out to be bots. Unlike real customers, bots do not convert and cause damage to core business metrics. CHEQ has also employed NBA great, Dikembe Mutombo, as their “Chief Blocking Officer”, waving his finger against fraud in customer acquisition channels in some hilarious ads

All this made me want to find out more for myself. So I got in touch with the CHEQ team to take it for a spin.

The company’s central product is called CHEQ for PPC, a solution that brings cybersecurity expertise to the challenges of fake users attacking campaigns and draining ad budgets. Its click fraud solution deploys over 1000 JavaScript challenges to the user’s browser in real-time to catch bots, while using sophisticated client side bot mitigation techniques like fingerprinting, honeypots (bot traps, in common speak) and more.

Gartner Analyst Andrew Frank says this about the company’s technology: “CHEQ blocks scrapers and web-crawlers, botnets, click farms, out-of geography clicks and suspicious human-driven behavior such as competitor clicks and affiliate fraud before they can affect a live campaign. It has also developed advanced bot mitigation technology to reliably distinguish between human and computer-generated activity.”

* Above, The CHEQ for PPC Dashboard

First of all, it’s super easy to setup and use

Setting up CHEQ for PPC was much easier than I had expected. After a quick platform demo with a company representative, I received a JavaScript tag to place on the site’s header, with clear and simple implementation instructions. It took about 10 minutes to complete and my data was already running through the dashboard. There was also the option to implement the tag to Google Tag Manager, for those companies that prefer not to place the tag directly on site, but I was told that the direct implementation is the best in terms of CHEQ’s ability to detect the fraud. Some companies prefer not to place a tag directly on their site for security reasons, although CHEQ is MRC accredited (see below) so that shouldn’t really be a concern. So, with that in mind, I went with the direct implementation, but good to know they have an option for companies who are sensitive to placing tags on the site’s header. Once set up, CHEQ is basically running across all major customer acquisition channels and able to detect and block any incoming invalid users from engaging with campaigns. 

Once set up, the dashboard really provides a clear breakdown of campaign fraud

The first thing that strikes you when you open up the platform and see your campaign data running through the dashboard, is “wow, this is pretty cool”. I could instantly see a high-level breakdown of fake users engaging with campaigns, followed by more detailed breakdowns of fraudulent traffic sources, IP’s, User Agents, Geos and even keywords which are driving fake clicks. Very detailed and yet not overwhelming. There is also a separate analytics tab where you can run far more granular breakdows, which really helps highlight where the bots are coming from and how they engage with the campaigns. Dope stuff.

Next step is to active blocking

CHEQ offers a free trial, which starts out in monitoring mode, showing your click fraud exposure, and then moving to actually block the fraud. What I found super cool was that unlike other click fraud prevention solutions, CHEQ connects to your Google Ads account and excludes fake users from your audiences. Competing solutions rely primarily on IP blocking, but CHEQ goes the extra mile and provides a far more robust solution for blocking. This is a key difference that really catapults CHEQ above the rest of the competition in my mind. Overall, when I started out in monitoring mode, I was seeing campaigns with fraud as high as 25%, while the average fraud rate across the board was around 8%. Not as high as I might have thought, but still very significant, especially for larger advertisers spending millions. However, once blocking was activated, fraud reduced to less than 0.5%, and remained below 1% for the duration of the trial.

Trust, Transparency and compliance baked in 

The question on many people’s mind is, how can I trust a fraud prevention platform to report accurate numbers. What really set CHEQ apart for me in this respect, was that it is the only MRC accredited company operating in the space. This means that CHEQ’s fraud detection technology has been vetted by the MRC (the leading compliance framework ad-fraud prevention) to ensure accuracy and transparency. That’s just an important extra layer of trust, to know that when they say a user is a bot, they know what they’re talking about. Also, there’s a very helpful ‘transparency’ tab which allows you to download raw, log-level data, along with detailed fraud reasons behind every blocked user. It really inspires confidence to know that you’re using a tool which isn’t a black box, so kudos on that.

Customer Success team provides an extra layer of value

While CHEQ can be used in a set-it-and-forget-it kind of way, what I found extremely helpful was the customer success team’s input and analysis. I was provided weekly reports about the fraud levels with insights on how and where the fraud was coming from. This is particularly useful for more sophisticated enterprise teams who want more control over their blocking. Some of the fake users were surprisingly sophisticated and to hear the CHEQ team breakdown the fraudulent activity was actually super cool! Kind of feels like you’re in a covert cybersecurity operation, but one that is made accessible to marketers. 

But accuracy and coverage come at a price, as CHEQ is tailored more to enterprise than small advertisers.

CHEQ isn’t cheap. At the end of the trial, you’ll be quoted based on your annual media spend and it can get a bit pricey. That being said, this is a solution designed more for the needs of mid-market / enterprise companies spending millions of dollars annually across multiple platforms, as opposed to small business advertisers who usually run mostly on Google. If you are spending those amounts however, then CHEQ is a small price to pay, especially considering the revenue uplift, as you replace thousands of fake users with real paying customers. You’re also paying of course for compliance, high security and privacy standards, a customer success team that includes fraud analysts and above all else, accuracy, scale and coverage across all channels. 

To summarize, if you’re spending millions of dollars on customer acquisition, buying CHEQ is a no brainer

The ease of implementation, the granularity of the data, the transparency and reporting, and above all the coverage and accuracy make this offering a must for advertisers. When you think about having 8% of your spend wasted on fake clicks, that’s just painful. CHEQ turns that around and replaces those with authentic human users who can actually convert, so this really is a super ROI-positive play. And yes, it doesn’t come cheap, and might not be suited for small businesses advertisers, but anyone spending in the millions should at least take a look at this, especially since Customer Acquisition Security is quickly becoming the standard for marketing teams everywhere.

Overall rating: 5 / 5

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