The Basics of Campaign Click Fraud
If you run multiple advertisements via Google and other search engines, then you probably have a good idea of the overall levels of performance that are to be expected. With various test campaigns conducted and a variety of different products to promote, it is natural that there will be some variance in terms of click-through rates and conversions. What can be unnerving, however, is how these metrics can sometimes appear to be purposefully skewed. If you have noticed many different clicks on your ad campaigns that all seem to originate from the same internet service provider, then there is a good chance that you may be a victim of click fraud. Why does this happen and what can you do about it? We will discuss these issues below to help you understand the answers to these questions.
Why Click Fraud Happens
It is relatively easy to determine the broader culprits behind any instance of campaign click fraud. Primarily, it will come from competitors who have noticed that you are pinging Google and others SERPs with advertisements for your product, service or website. In turn, these competitors may also be vested in this niche and simply want to drain your advertising accounts dry as quickly as possible. Since many advertisement campaigns utilize PPC over CPM, this is a sure-fire way to quickly target an unsuspecting advertiser who is relatively powerless to stop it – until recently. There are also instances in which your visitors and customers will use consistently present ads to access your website (as opposed to typing in the URL or clicking on the actual search link).
Types of Click Fraud
There are two main types of malicious click fraud and each of them can be detrimental to your long-term ad strategy. The first and most popular form of click fraud is done automatically and through a piece of software designed to click on your links at a given interval. The second type of click fraud has been developed in recent years due to more sophisticated detection methods by Google and others; multiple people in multiple locations will perform the same actions as in the first method, but at a less frequent interval.
How to Stop Click Fraud
There is a method that you can use to report click fraud and attempt to stop its prevalence in a proactive fashion, but many passive tools now exist to catch those who are pinging Google AdWords and other services with false clicks. Teams of fraud experts are often employed by search engines to keep an eye on activity and reduce the instance of ad manipulation on multiple fronts. If you do notice an anomaly via Google, you can fill out an online report and submit the findings for Google to inspect.
Click fraud is most common in competitive, consumer-rich niches. If you currently advertise in one of these areas, then you have most likely experienced click fraud at one point or another. While search engines do a relatively good job at intercepting the most obvious examples of click fraud and removing them from your billing, more sophisticated methods can slip through the cracks. Still, it is likely that traces of such activity can be documented. A proactive approach and interaction with advertising platforms can help further reduce any impact to your advertising budget.