Injected Ads Are Undermining E-Commerce Without Retailers Knowing — Here’s How to Stop Them

Now that many footwear companies have made the move to online, the next focus is on optimizing that digital experience for the consumer. But a significant threat to the consumer experience occurs on the customer’s own device, making it hard for retailers to identify — let alone stop. This is the problem of injected ads.

To the consumer, injected ads look like regular ads that have been approved by the e-commerce site, which is what makes them so dangerous for a retailer’s bottom line. In fact, they are the result of strategic traffic hijacking and are designed to lure a consumer away from a site before checkout and toward a competitor’s page instead.

“Customer hijacking often takes place at critical points throughout the buying journey, i.e. the homepage, product and search pages, or the cart,” said Chemi Katz, CEO of Namogoo, a customer hijacking prevention solution. “If presented with a better offer on another site, many customers will jump at the opportunity to save a few dollars.”

Cart abandonment has long been a common problem for retailers, but it has increased during COVID-19, according to Namogoo, which reported that abandonment has increased from 85.1% to 94.4% during the pandemic. Many retailers will seek to address the issue by resolving any pain points within their site, such as inefficient checkout processes or slow page load times.

While these can be valuable steps, there is still a risk of shoppers leaving due to injected ads, which are commonly left unchecked. This is because the injected ads are applied to the e-commerce site through the user’s browser, not through the site itself. A retailer would therefore not find these ads when assessing their own site, but Namogoo reports that 20% of visits to e-commerce sites are being affected.

“Injected ads are coming from traffic hijackers, who bundle these ads into browser extensions, toolbars, programs and other free software commonly downloaded online [by shoppers],” said Katz. “These ads run on the customer’s browser. As a result, no matter how well-protected a site may be, the issue is still pervasive and the retailer has no way of knowing this issue exists, how prevalent it is, and how much revenue it’s costing them.”

While it may seem that a retailer is powerless against something they cannot detect, solutions like Namogoo are designed to identify and eliminate injected ads before they have an opportunity to distract a shopper. They also then frequently pair this preventative action with a proactive attempt to convert the customer, such as personalized messaging or coupons.

Whether or not it’s worthwhile to implement such a solution can be difficult to determine, as companies may struggle to track how much revenue they are losing due to injected ads. However, Namogoo reports that its customers see a conversion uplift of between 1.5% and 5% after a few weeks. And the company claims to have recovered $1 billion in revenue for its users in 2019.

Access exclusive content