I am using Piwik to monitor web stats and have noticed that it appears like some users click a link to my site and then close it before the page has even loaded. I have based this on the fact that Piwik has recoded the site load time and displayed this rather than the time on a specific page. The load time is always less than a second so I can't believe people are that impatient.

The majority of this traffic is coming from Facebook ads so the other thing to think of is how many people may click them by accident and be quick enough to close the tab or window before it's loaded. I would guess it's not that many.

How else could these type of stats be recorded? I have a lot of traffic with these characteristics and understanding the problem could save me money on all the clicks that seem to never even see the page.

  • If you have Piwik collecting data through a JavaScript snippet, then it sounds like the page has already loaded. Piwik won't fire until it has, then the user decides within a second that the page isn't what they are actually looking for. Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 13:58
  • @StephenOstermiller In that case the users must be very quick to close the page in less than a second and considering that most of my drop-offs are through this it would be a weird coincidence.
    – connersz
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 14:08
  • I've also had experiences where Facebook doesn't send qualified visitors. It could just be very poor quality traffic. People that wouldn't be interested in your site. For the last six months I've regularly gotten over a thousand vistors from Facebook to a spcific page, all on the 26th of the month every month. These visitors trigger Analytics, but never interact with the page further. Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 14:40
  • @StephenOstermiller Does Piwik log a session time for those visitors? This is a visitor from FB I had about an hour ago who represents the majority of traffic from this source: Spent a total of 0s on the website, and viewed 1 pages in 1 visits. Converted 0 Goals.
    – connersz
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 16:25
  • I use Google Analytics, not Piwik. Google Analytics sees them as single pageview users with zero time on site. Google Analytics doesn't measure time on page, just time between page views. I'm not sure how Piwik measures session duration. Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


You are most likely suffering from the Virtual Bagel (most recently named the Facebook Ads fraud).

I had noticed results like the ones you report before and never actually looked too much at it because I've never invested too much in FB Ads, until most recently after I did a campaign to increase the likes on one of my pages, the Followers grew and the engagement fell.

After searching, I found this great video resource from Veritasium:


The idea behind it is related with Click Farms and Spam clicks.

So click farms, explicitly forbidden by Facebook, exist and are very profitable by operating mainly in Countries like India, Pakistan, Egypt or Indonesia, where the workers are paid small bucks for 1000 clicks that are sold in websites for a lot more.

What happens is this workers build profiles that other than liking / clicking in the requested liked page, they like many, many others in order to don't look too spammy. They also try to behave like a normal user, clicking links, having interests and so on. The more likes they have, the most likely they broaden their interests and are able to catch your Ads.

This process is simple and quick: they click the ads and close the page. Over and over again. No interaction, no conversion, nothing. This behavior matches your reports.

One of other articles I found as this one at TNW, that basically concludes that:

These bots/spammers can make themselves more difficult to find by continuing to diversify their likes and friends. That appears to be the strategy here. Whatever the case, it’s a headache for page moderators, who will have to spend more time gleaning the spam off their pages.

Luckily, there seems to be hope, as stated in the comments:

You can partly prevent this by going to your Page Settings and under "Country Restrictions", add Thailand, India, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Mexico to the exclusions list (topic permitting). Sadly, many worthless likes now come from U.S. profiles too.

Facebook's marketing value is depreciating and I don't get why they can't crack this ongoing issue that is dramatically affecting their most valuable customers' ROI.

Of course in your case you're not buying likes to a page but traffic to a site and the users you're receiving, as I stated above, are just clicking things and liking stuff just to try to look real. If you didn't target countries like India or Pakistan, the most likely scenario is that they are using proxies and setting up their addresses to US or UK in order to match the orders on the sites.

As immediate measures I would:

  1. Review the targeting settings on FB Ads;
  2. Implement your own tracking, sending the users to a script that can take the IP and save it to a DB in order to get the exact location;
  3. Try to create a campaign with the same settings but sending traffic to a page in order to see if the likes you gain, are from spammy users like the ones matching the articles I stated above.

For what I saw in the recent past, Facebook is not a good platform for paid advertising and is progressively losing it's value.


While the answer by @nunorbatista is definitely true, there is also another reason why you are seeing a lot of visitors with a visit duration of 0. By default, piwik doesn't track the time on a page to avoid server requests and just uses the difference between the visit times, which obviously doesn't work for visitors who exit after the first page.

But you can set up Piwik to send a heartbeat signal to the server every 15 seconds by adding _paq.push(['enableHeartBeatTimer']); to the tracking code, which is used to create accurate visit time reports.

More information: https://piwik.org/faq/how-to/faq_21824/ https://developer.piwik.org/guides/tracking-javascript-guide#accurately-measure-the-time-spent-on-each-page

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