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X reported a significant surge in traffic during the Super Bowl weekend – but the majority of that traffic was allegedly fake.

The social media giant claimed impressions, user posts and video views were up 31%, 41% and 75% year-on-year respectively.

However, 75.85% of the traffic from X to its advertising clients’ websites was identified as fake in a new report by cybersecurity firm CHEQ.

Why we care. If three out of every four clicks on your X ads are generated by bots, you’re essentially paying for clicks that won’t contribute to any conversions. This type of fake traffic not only impacts your budget but also complicates the optimization of your campaigns, as it hinders a clear understanding of your actual audience.

Report details. CHEQ gathered data for this report from 144,000 visits to its clients’ websites through X ads during Super Bowl weekend, from Friday February 9 to the end of Super Bowl Sunday on February 11. Although the data is not scientifically sampled and represents a small portion of the overall relevant data from CHEQ’s 15,000 clients, it highlights a significant trend.

What CHEQ is saying. CHEQ founder and CEO Guy Tytunovich told Mashable:

  • “I’ve never seen anything even remotely close to 50 percent, not to mention 76 percent. I’m amazed…I’ve never, ever, ever, ever seen anything even remotely close.”
  • “We were always the conservative ones. We protect a lot of our customers on Google Ads, YouTube, and even TikTok, which I’m not a fan of, and we’ve always said 50 percent [being fake] is a bit opportunistic.”
  • “I almost decided not to go out [and publish the X bot data] because we’ve never seen anything like it.”

What is CHEQ? CHEQ is a cybersecurity firm, is dedicated to preventing ad fraud. It provides solutions to block fake traffic, redirecting spending towards genuine human users and ensuring the removal of bots and fake users from your audience segments.

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Deep dive. Read X’s announcement in full for more information on the reported traffic increases during the Super Bowl.

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