One of the most effective and robust methods of driving brand recognition and sales is via PPC advertising. However, businesses that engage in PPC advertising need to be aware of the potential for PPC fraud so that they don’t find themselves a victim. One of the oldest types of fraud associated with PPC advertising clicks fraud. Here is a guide on what it is, how you can detect it, and how to eliminate it.
What is Click Fraud in PPC Advertising?
Click fraud is the action of repeatedly clicking on a PPC ad by an individual or a computer program (a bot) without the intention of conversion. Click fraud eats up advertising budgets, generates false data for businesses, and decreases conversion rates.
Who Indulges in Click Fraud?
- In order to skew PPC competitor research, click fraud can be instigated by rival businesses. They may purposely click on a company’s PPC ads just to drive up their ad spend costs.
- Ad publishers may at times commit click fraud in an attempt to increase ad revenue. They try to game the PPC market.
- Unintentional click fraud can happen when customers click on PPC ads to visit the website instead of visiting it directly or through a search engine. In this case, the customer is not intentionally indulging in ad fraud even though it may seem to be the case.
Who is in the Fight Against Click Fraud?
It is no surprise that ad networks are significantly involved in this fight as it affects their business model the most. However, search engines have also been called to fight against click fraud and called out for not doing enough to fight against it. Google has built a click fraud detection program that starts with a basic layer of defence with automated filters. Fraudulent clicks are detected and filtered out in real-time by advanced algorithms. The Ad Traffic Quality teams perform offline, manual analysis to extract clicks they consider invalid so that advertisers are not charged.
How to detect click fraud in a PPC account?
- PPC campaigns targeted for ad fraud often have abnormal conversion rates. So, compare this campaign’s conversion rates versus other campaigns. You can also go through the campaign’s historical trends in conversion rates. PPC fraud can show through huge spikes, such as going from 5% to 30% and back to 5% in a short period.
- PPC Campaigns targeted by click fraud will have high bounce rates. The perpetrators will click on the ad and then bounce back out. To check this, navigate to the landing page of the campaign, and segregate the traffic to the campaign into PPC and Organic users to compare bounce rates. Compare the number of PPC visits on Google Analytics to the number of clicks on Google Ads. If the ad clicks are far higher than the visits to the site, then it is most likely the work of a bot.
- Check your server logs for the following—IP addresses, click timestamp, action timestamp, and user agent. Check if there are recurring clicks in a pattern from the same IP address. The click timestamp and the action timestamp together will tell you when the person reaches your website on clicking an ad. The action timestamp will tell you when that person completes any action on your website. The IP addresses that have many click timestamps but no action timestamps are likely to be click fraud. The user agent will tell you if someone using a particular IP address is the same person. As it will register details of the device used, what type of device it is, the software and browser used, and so on.
How to Eliminate PPC Fraud?
- Adjust your ad target: Sometimes click fraud can be eliminated by adjusting the targeting of the ad campaign. You may observe that there is an upsurge of invalid clicks on your Google Ads dashboard. In a certain region every time traffic gets increased. You can simply modify the ad campaigns’ target to exclude that region. Go to Settings on your Google Ads account, then locations, and click on exclude.
- Use the IP exclusions feature: If you have clearly identified the IP addresses that are committing, click fraud, you can block them from doing further harm. Go to the campaign page on Google Ads, navigate to the Advanced settings. Then select the link for IP exclusions. Click on the edit option and type in the IP addresses where click fraud is originating. Then click on save.
- Use high-value websites for your PPC campaigns: Low-quality websites are often prime targets of bots. Eliminate this unnecessary risk and the unnecessary ad spend and consequential loss, by running your ads only on high-quality websites. Both Yahoo and Google allow you to run ads only on the websites specified by you.
- Run remarketing campaigns on Google Ads: Remarketing allows you to target only those users that have visited your website and shown interest in the service or products on offer. They may have downloaded an e-book, put something in the shopping cart, and so on. There is zero risk of click fraud here as remarketing ads will only show to those genuine visitors.
- Use Twitter or Facebook for your PPC campaign: By running your PPC campaign on these platforms, the ads will show exclusively on these platforms only. This cuts out the risk of third-party publishers. Moreover, it is more difficult for competing businesses to target. As well because the ads shown are highly dependent on keyword search.
- Employ white label PPC management services: Managing click fraud as well as other types of fraud that PPC campaigns are subject to can be an arduous task. Investing in white label PPC services will take care of your PPC campaign from start to finish. While ensuring top-quality performance and rigorous anti-fraud practices. Save your time and energy by hiring PPC experts to make your PPC campaigns a success. So that you can focus on making your business a success.
Also read: 8 Hot PPC Trends You Must Know in 2022