The importance of identifying click fraud in today's world of paid advertising
Lots of brands utilise PPC for search and social media to help drive traffic to their websites and apps. However, what if I were to tell you that there are bots, fraudsters and competitors clicking on your ads and spending your well earned money. You’d be annoyed, right?
That is why I’ll outlining some of the key points to look out for when you’re managing and optimising your PPC accounts on platforms such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
What is click fraud?
According to ClickCease, “click fraud is the act of clicking on a paid link, such as display ad or sponsored search result, with malicious or vindicative intent”
Click fraud is often the marketers or business owner’s worst nightmare, as it is essentially wasting your budget and potentially damaging the performance of your campaigns.
This is often caused by click farms, bots or competitors trying to gain an advantage. I won’t go too much into click farms, as it is another subject entirely.
More of click farms another time, perhaps? Let us know by commenting on this post or dropping us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
In short, a click farm is a paid for service that generates traffic (often in bulk amounts) to show increases in social media followers, comments on posts, creating backlinks and so on.
How can I spot click fraud?
If you’re not completely o’fay with paid advertising optimisation techniques (gosh, that’s a long word) then you may not spot click fraud straight away and you might even be pulling out your own hair to understand why your ads are not converting.
Let’s help with that! Some of the warning signs can be:
- Peaks in impressions at unusual rates (this is the number of times your ad is shown to a user)
- Peaks in the number of clicks
- No increase in the number of conversions when the peaks of impressions or clicks happens
- A drop in the number of page views when the peaks of impressions or clicks happens
- A higher, than normal, bounce rate (when a user visits your website and takes no action such as submit contact info or buy a product) when the peaks of impressions or clicks happen
It is also important to point out that you should not panic if one of these ‘warning signs’ applies to you after reading this. Be sure to do due diligence first, such as:
- Create a dedicated landing page for your campaign
- A/B test landing pages to see what you can do to improve conversions
- Check bids (for search ads mainly) and budgets if you’re advertising in a competitive space
Only when you’ve done all you can, and still find these issues, that you come to a conclusion of possible click fraud.
What can I do about it?
There are ways of preventing click fraud, but it may require you to invest a little in a piece of software that helps you spot fraudsters in real-time.
Here are a few suggestions of top-rated click prevention platforms:
All of them differ in one way or another, but as a general rule, they all have the same aims and functions. They are easy to install, by adding a piece of HTML code to your website, and then connecting Google Ads/Facebook Ads services to share the data with them to help them spot click fraud.
Once identified, some of those platforms automatically block the IP address of the click so that they cannot click your ads again – useful for competitors if you ask me! And the others allow you to review the list of clicks and decide whether blocking their IPs are necessary.
Sometimes this is coupled with a recording of that visitors’ time on your website, which allows you to take a view on whether they need to be blocked or not. Be sure to update your privacy policies if you intend to use this type of software, as it is another form of data collection.
I’m out of pocket, so what now?
Fortunately, there are ways to get your money back (oh, yes!)
If we’re talking about Google Ads here, you are able to generate reports from one of the click fraud preventions platforms and upload this (with a few details) to Google Ads directly.
Here’s the link: https://support.google.com/google-ads/contact/click_quality
Google Ads will review your case and an actual person will contact you to review the report and, in most cases, they will refund or credit you the clicks costs back to your account.
Meta for Business also reviews these matters on a case by case basis, and more information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/626428078224265?id=1468738389987593
Do you think your paid advertising campaigns are being subjected to click fraud? Get in touch with our specialist paid ads team to discuss a bespoke audit by calling 01386 576682.