Click fraud is a legitimate issue that can interfere with your pay per click services and destroy your advertising budget in the blink of an eye.
It’s a problem that businesses have dealt with since the creation of online advertising and pay per click ads.
Although Google does take some measures to identify and prevent click fraud, it is typically up to the owner of the PPC services account to watch for evidence of click fraud and do something about it.
Consider these valuable points about click fraud so you don’t become a victim and lose your ad budget overnight.
What Is Click Fraud?
Click fraud happens when an advertiser’s PPC ads are repeatedly and fraudulently clicked for malicious reasons.
Generally, businesses may find someone (their competitors?) are repeatedly clicking their pay per click ads in an attempt to eat up a company’s advertising budget without gaining any actual leads or sales.
Click fraud is sometimes committed when businesses legitimately display their own Google ads, from which they earn a percentage of the amount paid to Google when searchers click on those ads.
So income can be fraudulently generated if webmasters click on their own links to generate income for that company.
How Can Click Fraud Be Detected?
A big complaint about click fraud is that the search engine companies do little to prevent and detect it.
Considering the fact that the search engines generate income no matter who clicks a link, it’s no wonder why help has been scarce.
Google does have a decent anti-fraud program that utilizes special filters; they will also investigate claims of fraud if you suspect your pay per click services are under attack; however, the program is not foolproof.
If you want to research it on your own to report your findings to Google, you can easily identify malicious clicks on your pay per click ads using the internal reporting function on your advertising platform.
With internal reporting turned on, monitor the following details to determine whether your clicks are coming from the same source:
- IP Address - Identifies the origination of a click.
- Click Timestamp and Action Timestamp - Click timestamps with no action timestamps infers someone clicked on your ad without going to your website or landing page to do something.
- User Agent - Identifies individual users within an IP address
By tracking this information, you can quickly find out whether your PPC services are being maliciously targeted.
How Can Click Fraud Be Prevented?
Many PPC services believe that dealing with click fraud is inevitable if you’re going to use pay per click ads; however, you have some choices depending on your need to stop such action if targeted so you don't lose a large chunk of your ad budget.
- Use IP Exclusions in Google Ads to prevent certain IPs from clicking.
- Adjust ad targeting to weed out click-farms and suspicious clicks coming from equally suspicious regions.
- Switch to remarketing ad campaigns to target only legitimate users who visit your website through other channels.
- Switch to Facebook ads and other social media advertising.
Click Fraud - A Challenge, But Controllable
Since getting a good return from low-cost PPC ads is every company’s goal, you lose a lot more than just your advertising dollars when PPC services identify that click-fraud attacks are wiping out your ad budget.
Take steps to identify and eliminate click-fraud with the help of your pay per click services and reap the rewards of efficient ad campaigns!