Tips & Tools For Dealing With Click Fraud
What is Click Fraud?
Click fraud is when your Pay Per Click ads are clicked on repeatedly by individuals, computer programs, custom scripts, or even other advertisers, in an effort to drive up the Average Cost of your clicks and exhaust your daily spend limits. On top of the increased cost on wasted spend, click fraud will also see your conversion rates decline and heavily skew the data your campaigns have generated.
How Is Click Fraud Being Prevented?
Luckily, platforms such as Google Search already have native anti-click-fraud tools that have been designed to negate click fraud both online and offline. Using complex algorithms, Google is able to identify fraudulent clicks by analysing the IP address of the clicker, as well as click timestamps, in order to avoid charging the advertiser at the time it occurs.
However, sometimes fraudulent clicks can fall through the cracks. So, Google also has a manual and offline process for reviewing and negating any clicks that may be invalid. Google also will launch investigations into suspected fraudulent clicks based on advertisers’ reports. Should those clicks be considered fraudulent, Google issues credits to your account to compensate advertisers for the cost.
How Can You Prevent Click Fraud?
There are several ways an individual or business can protect their campaigns and ad accounts from click fraud, either by taking matters into their own hands or through using third-party software and tools.
Report Directly to Google Ads
On suspicion of fraudulent clicking, before taking any direct action, you must be aware of the traffic that is being generated in your account. Understand your direct competitors and their drive to outbid or outrank you.
Try and collate information about:
- IP addresses: Every user has an IP address, like a home address for your internet activity. When users visit a site, they leave an IP address trail that can be tracked by webmasters.
- Click timestamp: the time when someone arrives on your site after clicking an ad.
- Action timestamp: the time when that person completed an action on your site.
- User agent: features of the device on which they are browsing.
With this information, you’ll be able to file an internal report for Google Ads to investigate and follow up on for you.
Use a Third-Party Tool
If you want to go through a third party tool, it’s good to know that there is a huge range of Anti-Fraudulent-Click software available.
Here are some examples of third-party click fraud software:
- Clixtell Click Fraud Protection
These programs will automatically scour your campaigns for any suspicious or fraudulent activity. They can scan IP addresses and click timestamps to calculate whether the flick was fraudulent or not. Then, they will automatically remove and exclude them from the account for you.
They work by scanning your IP address as well as a range of other indicating factors, as you would manually, in order to quickly block malicious clickers from further fraudulent activity. These programs usually come with their own user interfaces to help you manage your flagged clicks outside of the sometimes-hard-to-follow Google Ads interface.
Is Click Fraud Protection Worthwhile For Your Business?
Before jumping to subscribe to an anti-click fraud tool or anxiously sifting through your historical campaign data for any suspicious activity, you must also consider whether your business would even be a target for fraudulent clicks.
Usually, click fraud is common amongst major companies and businesses with large, sustained budgets that target very broad keywords. If your industry is niche, or your target audience is small, you are not likely to encounter click fraud – especially if there aren’t many advertisers you are competing with.
It’s worth considering, however, that as more and more businesses are “going online”, digitalising their marketing strategies and running PPC ads, that unsuspecting advertisers may find themselves being targeted by malicious activity where there previously was little concern. Familiarise yourself with the tools available to protect your business and your campaigns against click fraud.
Let us know if you have any questions!
Written by Harry Taylor