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Suspected Bot Activity report

Abstract

Explains the metrics and usage of the Suspected Bot Activity report in Sitecore CDP.

The Suspected Bot Activity report in the Customer Analytics section highlights irregular traffic and guest activity that might be attributed to bot activity. The report includes focused data on cart, event, and bounce bots. Use it to better understand regular and irregular site traffic, and identify suspicious trends.

When you use the report, take the following into account:

  • The report highlights activity that we suspect is bot activity, based on various calculations as explained in the following topics. However, some legitimate guests might be falsely identified as bots, while actual bots might not be detected by the report.

  • Only visitor sessions can be classified as suspected bot sessions. Customer sessions are not classified as suspected bots.

  • Bots are not necessarily malicious - they are scraping your site for information. However, when analyzing your site traffic, it is always important to understand the percentage that might be attributed to bot activity, as well as identify bot activity that might be harmful to your business.

  • As with other dashboard analytics, typical site behavior can greatly vary from one site to another. When you use the bot report, remember other factors that might influence your site traffic, such as ads or email campaigns, seasonal data, and so on.

  • The report might take a while to load (usually, around 1 minute).

Tip

You can reference the Sitecore CDP Knowledge Hub to learn more about bot behavior.

The first part of the Suspected Bot Activity report provides various traffic metrics for context when investigating bot activity.

Suspected bot report overview metrics.
  • New Visitors for Current Complete Month - shows the total number of unique visitors over the most recent complete calendar month. This provides context for understanding the percentage of bot activity.

  • Bounce Rate % for Current Complete Month - shows the bounce rate for the recent complete calendar month, that is, the percentage of sessions that included only one page visit. Such sessions might be attributed to bot activity.

  • Total Bots - Current Complete Month - shows the calculated estimate of bot sessions as a percentage of the total number of sessions for the most recent complete calendar month.

  • Bounce Rate % - shows the bounce rate for each day of the recent complete calendar month. This visual representation of traffic trends helps to immediately identify potential spikes in bounce rates, that might indicate a high volume of bot activity.

Average Session Duration

The duration of a session can be an indicator of bot activity. This graph shows the average session duration for each day of the most recent complete calendar month.

Average session duration graph in the Suspected Bot Activity report.

Daily Traffic

Erratic changes to the number of sessions can be an indicator of bot activity. This graph shows the number of sessions for each day of the most recent complete calendar month. The day with the highest number of sessions is considered suspicious, and investigated in the following graphs.

Daily Traffic graph in the Suspected Bot Activity report.

First Page - Suspicious Date

This table shows the top landing pages on the day of the month that had the highest number of site visits, as indicated in the Daily Traffic graph. This can help approve or disprove the suspicion of bot activity, for example: if the first page is the landing page from an ad or email campaign, that can explain the high traffic on that day, which probably originates from real users clicking the link to your site.

  • To sort by a column, click the column heading.

First Page - Suspicious Date table in the Suspected Bot Activity report.

Guest Information - Suspicious Day Traffic

This table shows session data for individual guests on the day that had the highest number of site visits, as indicated in the Daily Traffic graph. Use this table to investigate specific guest profiles as suspect of being bots.

  • To open a guest profile, click the guest ref, then select Inspect Guest.

  • To sort by a column, click the column heading. For example, it is useful to sort by the session count, because a guest with many sessions and short session durations has a higher likelihood of being a bot.

  • To resize the table columns, drag the column sides.

Guest Information - Suspicious Day Traffic table in the Suspected Bot Activity report.

Bot Proportion - Past 6 Months

This graph shows a visualization of the percentage of suspected bots of the total site traffic for each of the past 6 months. It can quickly highlight any changes in suspicious activity over time.

Bot Proportion - Past 6 Months in the Suspected Bot Activity report.

Bot % Split - Past 6 Months Trend

This graph shows the proportion of each bot type of all the suspected bots for a given month. We track the following bot types:

  • High-event bots - spend a relatively short time on the site with a high number of events. The typical activity for this bot type is rapidly moving through the site pages while scraping the site for information.

  • Cart bots - repeatedly add multiple items to the cart but never complete a purchase.

  • Bounce bots - have one page view and drop off from the site.

Bot Percent Split - Past 6 Months Trend graph in the Suspected Bot Activity report.

The Cart Bots section of the Suspected Bot Activity report is used to further investigate sessions that are suspected as cart bots. Cart bots add many items to the cart during their session, but do not complete the transaction. This can be done to scrape data such as prices, availability, and additional fees. Sessions that meet all the following criteria appear in the report as suspected cart bots:

  • Visitor guest type.

  • Abandoned session type.

  • Only one session for this guest ref.

  • Over 20 items added to the cart during the session.

Cart Bots section of the Suspect Bot Activity report of Sitecore CDP

Cart Bots - Past 6 Months Trend

This chart shows the number of estimated cart bots for all the previous six complete calendar months, allowing you to quickly recognize a rise in bots for a given month. Remember that in a month when there is generally more cart events, there is probably also a rise in the number of suspected cart bots.

Operating system comparison

This section includes two charts that show the distribution of operating systems used in sessions: one for all guests, and one for sessions that are suspected as cart bots. Sometimes, cart bot sessions have minimal identification; in the screenshot, you can see that the suspected cart bots have a much higher rate of unknown operating systems. This further confirms that they are bots.

User agent comparison

This section includes two charts that show the distribution of user agents used in sessions: one for all guests, and one for sessions that are suspected as cart bots. Sometimes, cart bot sessions have minimal identification; in the screenshot, you can see that the suspected cart bots have a much higher rate of other user agents. This further confirms that they are bots. For more information about user agents, see this Wikipedia article.

Cart Bots - Current Complete Month

This table shows individual guest sessions that are suspected as cart bots and the number of items they added. Often, you can see a pattern in the number of items added to the cart (for example, the same number of items over different sessions, or multiplications of ten).

  • Click on a guest ref to view its details.

The High Event Bots section of the Suspected Bot Activity report is used to further investigate sessions that are suspect as high event bots. High event bots have a large number of events per session, and the duration of each event is short, as the bot quickly moves through site pages to scrape information. Sessions that meet all the following criteria appear in the report as suspected high-event bots:

  • Visitor guest type.

  • More than one session per guest.

  • 15 or more events per session.

  • The duration of each event is less than 20 seconds.

High Event Bots section of the Suspected Bot Activity report in Sitecore CDP

High Event Bots - Past 6 Month Trend

This chart shows the number of estimated high event bots for all the previous 6 complete calendar months, allowing you to quickly recognize a rise in bots for a given month.

High Events: Duration per Event - Past 6 Month Trend

This graph shows the average event duration in sessions that were identified as high-event bots, for each full calendar month over the past 6 full months.

Operating system comparison

This section includes two charts that show the distribution of operating systems used in sessions: one for all guests, and one for sessions that are suspected as high event bots. Sometimes, high event bot sessions have minimal identification, such as an unknown operating systems. This further confirms that they are bots.

User agent comparison

This section includes two charts that show the distribution of user agents used in sessions: one for all guests, and one for sessions that are suspected as high event bots. Sometimes, bot sessions have minimal identification, such as unknown user agents. This further confirms that they are bots.

High Event Bots - Current Complete Month

This table shows individual guest sessions that are suspected as high event bots, allowing you to go into the details of each suspected bot and their sessions. Click a column heading to sort by its content, in descending order. The table includes the following columns:

  • Guest ref - click to open this visitor's profile in Sitecore CDP.

  • Operating system (OS)

  • User agent

  • Duration per session - high event bots usually have relatively long sessions but a short duration for each event.

  • Duration per event - high event bots usually have relatively long sessions but a short duration for each event.

  • Session count

  • Event count

  • Average duration between events

The Bounce Bots section of the Suspected Bot Activity report in Sitecore CDP is used to further investigate sessions that are suspect as bounce bots. Bounce bots visit only one page per session, and their sessions are very short. Sessions that meet the following criteria appear in the report as suspected bounce bots:

  • More than one session for the guest ref.

  • Only one page visit per session.

  • Very short sessions.

The Bounce Bot section of the Suspected Bot Activity report in Sitecore CDP

Bounce Bots - Past 6 Month Trend

This chart shows the number of estimated bounce bots for all the previous 6 complete calendar months, allowing you to quickly recognize a rise in bots for a given month.

Bounce Bots - Average Duration: Past 6 Months Trend

This graph shows the average event duration in sessions that were identified as bounce bots, for each full calendar month over the past 6 full months.

Operating system comparison

This section includes two charts that show the distribution of operating systems used in sessions: one for all guests, and one for sessions that are suspected as bounce bots. Sometimes, bounce bot sessions have minimal identification, such as an unknown operating system. This further confirms that they are bots.

User agent comparison

This section includes two charts that show the distribution of user agents used in sessions: one for all guests, and one for sessions that are suspected as bounce bots. Sometimes, bounce bot sessions have minimal identification, such as unknown user agents. This further confirms that they are bots.

Bounce Bots - Current Complete Month

This table shows individual guest sessions that are suspected as bounce bots, allowing you to go into the details of each suspected bot and their sessions. Click a column heading to sort by its content, in descending order. The table includes the following columns:

  • Guest ref - click to open this visitor's profile in Sitecore CDP.

  • User agent

  • Operating system (OS)

  • Session count - bounce bots usually have many sessions.

  • Duration per session (seconds) - bounce bot sessions are usually very short; a few seconds or less.