With an increase of awareness and interest in Bots' impact - both good and bad - on retail, travel and hospitality companies, Akamai wanted to leverage its global view of the Internet to see what changes occurred for Bot traffic during the recent holiday shopping days for North American retailers.
What we saw across a sampling of clients was mixed, surprisingly. Despite the increased interest in the impact of Bots, in some cases what we saw was flat Bot activity over the five critical shopping days from November 26 - November 30 2015 even though traffic spiked considerably, as you can see in the graph below.
This could be explained by the fact that Bot traffic, both good and bad, isn't inherently tied to human traffic. Bots do what they do on an automated schedule.
However, as pricing becomes more dynamic and content is constantly rotated, we believe the more likely relationship in the future is Bot traffic following broader traffic patterns.
Bad bots that scrape sites for price or content will need to scrape more sites, more quickly to ensure that a company can match its competitor's offers and prices which are changing rapidly. In order to offer the same or similar products and equal or better prices in near real-time, they will have to increase the bad Bot traffic to gather that information.
Good Bots from search engines, ad tech, SEO crawlers and the like will also want to keep up with the rapidly changing content and prices to ensure they are showing high in search results with the updated content and capturing, accurately, their ad-based traffic.
This graph from one of our clients demonstrates the expected trend really well.
You may well be asking: "If we're to expect increases in Bot traffic in the future, but some are bad and some are good, what can we do to ensure our customers have the best experience possible?"
That is the question when it comes to managing the Bot problem and something we will be addressing head-on in our subsequent blogs. First up is "What you should know about Bots' impact on Retail" which we will be sharing in the coming weeks.