In today’s digital world, it is becoming easier to end up being the victim of a scam and getting yourself entangled in something you did not sign up for or expect. When it comes to online advertising for a business, click fraud is something that all businesses need to be aware of, but what is click fraud, and why is it such a problem?
Well, click fraud is a kind of fraud that will occur on Internet PPC (pay-per-click) online advertising. It is a technique that falsely inflates the number of clicks a PPC ad gets. PPC advertising is when the owner of a website that posts advertisements is paid a certain amount of money.
The amounts they receive is determined by the number of site visitors that click on the ads, which is where click fraud comes in. Click fraud PPC ads either have the intention of generating revenue for the host website, or will aim to drain revenue from the advertiser. Many advertisers are subject to click fraud, and it can have a negative impact on their business’s data and funds.
To help you understand more about click fraud, today we will be taking a look into what click fraud is and determining whether it is for real.
Is Click Fraud Real?
The answer to this is yes, click fraud is real, and it is normally driven by two incentives. The first one is that the advertiser wants to sabotage its competitors and it does so by driving up their costs and meeting all of their budget caps as early as they can in the day.
The second one is that the ad publisher wants to generate more revenue for themselves. Clicking on the advertisements on their own site will increase the amount of revenue that they generate. It is a shady thing to do, and when it is done spitefully, companies will make a lot of money off the back of innocent victims.
Why is it Problematic?
You may be thinking why click fraud may be problematic. Well, it may appear harmless at times, but as soon as money or finances are involved, it becomes an illegal practice. If a website ends up being a victim to click fraud, then the fraudster will be subject to charges.
Click fraud also costs advertisement organizations a lot of time and money, which could be used for more valuable things. As well as costing innocent businesses money and wasting advertisers’ time, click fraud will create inaccurate results when analyzing data from PPC campaigns, which can affect critical marketing decisions.
PPC Advertising Benefits
With the issues that surround click fraud, you may feel like avoiding pay-per-click advertising altogether. However, there are many benefits to PPC advertising, and understanding them may make you more motivated to protect and prevent click fraud, rather than avoiding PPC ads altogether.
Having a PPC ad campaign means you can advertise directly to people who are searching for a business like yours, and this targeted advertising means you will reach the right people at the right time and increase your brand exposure around the world.
Identifying Click Fraud
Now that you know what click fraud is, you need to make sure you can see whether or not it is happening on your account. Before you can fight click fraud, you need to be able to identify it to see if you are a victim.
The amount of time and number of resources you have available to you will determine your best route. You can approach the issue in one of two ways. The first is through manual analysis, which is the DIY route and will require you to collect certain pieces of information. Or, you can choose an automated solution, which is easier and saves time but will come with a cost.
Eliminating Click Fraud
Many advertisers consider click fraud to be a major issue, and in most cases, it is best to take matters into your own hands. Adjusting your ad targeting, running GDN Remarketing campaigns, setting up IP exclusions in Google Ads (aka AdWords), and turning to Twitter and Facebook ads are all great ways to eliminate click-happy criminals. For a more in-depth explanation, have a read of the linked article from ClickGUARD to learn to prevent click fraud effectively.
What Are Click Bots?
Click bots are usually responsible for click fraud. A bot is a software program that will operate on the internet and will perform a repetitive task. While good bots and bot traffic does exist, bad bots have the power to negatively impact an application or a website.
Fortunately, there are ways to control bad click fraud bots, and the best method is through bot management. Bot management is where bots are identified and blocked from an application or website, while still allowing good bots to access it. This will protect the website from click fraud while giving good bots access to boost traffic.
Click Fraud Protection
It isn’t unusual for businesses to turn a blind eye to click fraud and suspicious traffic, and although it may feel like the easy thing to do, it is definitely not the right way to go about it. One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from click fraud is by purchasing software that will prevent and protect you against click fraud.
This will cost you, but implementing a click fraud protection system that is efficient is the best long-term strategy that makes perfect financial sense. Eliminating all kinds of click fraud will improve your reputation and will reduce the risk of legal penalties.
What About Search Engines?
For years, search engines have gotten in trouble for not taking the right steps to identify and remove click fraudsters. Whether click fraud ads do or do not have the intention of being malicious, it is a form of generating money for the search engine that it is being displayed on, meaning many search engines turn a blind eye to it.
To maintain their reputation and to put advertisers’ minds at ease, all major ad platforms have created their own task forces to help control and takedown click fraud and as we have mentioned, there are things that you can do to protect your account.
What Can Google Do?
Google is the main ad platform out there, and there are a number of things that they can do to prevent click fraud. Firstly, they could apply automatic filters that remove invalid clicks as they take place. This will not appear on the report, so it will not cost anything.
Google could integrate proactive analysis, which will allow their team to detect any glitches or fluctuations that appear to be unusual and will credit your account. You could also carry out your own analysis and query it with Google via their online form. This won’t only protect your business, but it also has the potential to save you money.
There is a lot to learn and understand when it comes to click fraud. Now that you know what it is, why it is bad, and the methods of prevention, you will be able to use PPC advertising to your advantage and avoid being a victim of click fraud.