December 18, 2023

Detecting GA4 bot traffic with the ASC standard

Another powerful capability of the Automotive Standards Council (ASC) specification is that it gives you another tool in your toolbox for detecting bot traffic on your website. 

Earlier this month, the Dealer Insights platform began to trigger alerts about increased VDP views on several of our dealer’s websites from the same paid advertising channel. In many cases, the websites had received more VDP views in the first week of December than they had received for all of the November. While that might sound like a first-class problem to have, we were a bit suspicious of the traffic; as were our clients.

With the ASC standard, it’s easy to count the number of VDP view events, but it’s also easy to count other events such as photo views, click to calls, call to actions, etc. So our first reaction was to see if this new spike of traffic was also triggering these other events.

What we found is that is that instead of an increase in these other types of engagement events, there was actually a decrease. 
Now, unless a website has undergone a significant change in layout or usability, there really isn’t a reason why traffic from the same channel would dramatically change their behavior. In this case, this paid traffic was suddenly experiencing a spike of new users and VDP views, but those users were actually viewing less photos, submitting fewer forms, clicking fewer CTAs than ever before. That is suspicious behavior.

Another way to look at this is by looking at the budget spend on this paid channel and determining a cost per VDP view, cost per engagement event and cost per conversion event. Since the Dealer Insights platform has this functionality baked in, we could take a look at several dealers using this paid channel and see the results:


What we saw confirmed our suspicions : This new traffic was hitting a VDP and leaving. Their engagement rate (as measured by firing various ASC engagement events) as well as conversion rates had dropped dramatically. 

Armed with this information, our clients reached out to the vendor who managed this paid channel and they confirmed that there was indeed bot traffic being detected on the network and they were working to resolve the issue.


Dealers can’t afford to waste a single penny of their marketing dollars and the ASC standard, combined with powerful tools like the Dealer Insights reporting and analytics platform will maximize ROAS by alerting dealers to potential issues before it becomes a problem.

Leave a comment