How to reduce click-fraud in AdWords
Updated: Jun 26, 2018
Click fraud is a major challenge for those involved in pay per click marketing. Click fraud majorly entails any artificially generated click on your ad. A person can create these clicks, or a software program called a clickbot can create them.
These clicks, unfortunately, cost you money.
The hard part is identifying click fraud. In order to do this, you need to constantly monitor your campaigns, keeping a watchful eye out for any abnormalities. You need to pay attention to your campaign's established trends and watch for any divergence in those trends. For example, suppose you have an Adgroup that averages an 8% CTR. Minor variations to this CTR are normal and expected. What happens, however, if this Adgroup spikes to a 15% CTR without warning? What do you do?
The first thing you need to do in such a case checks to see if there are any logical reasons for this spike. For example, was there some media coverage on your industry that would cause an increase in searches for your keywords? Traffic spikes that are unexpected usually have a good reason to occur. If they lead to an increase in sales then it is real traffic. If your sales correspond to your traffic everything should be fine.
If the traffic still seems fraudulent you need to gather as much information as possible on the incident. Record the time period when it happened and what keywords were affected. Check your server logs and look for any suspicious looking IP addresses or user agents. Once you have collected all relevant information you need to contact Google support and allow them to take over the investigation. They will want access to your server logs and any other pertinent information. They are very good at what they do, and you need to be patient as their investigation can take some time.
If you spot click fraud, Google is very competent with their investigation and they will reimburse you if click fraud is indeed proven. If it is determined that click fraud did not occur, you will be given an explanation describing how this was determined.
There are many different reasons for click fraud. The most common is for financial gain. This usually occurs on the content network. Here people get paid every time someone clicks on a Google AdSense ad on their site. Some people get greedy and try generating artificial clicks in order to make more money. Sometimes they try to click on the ads themselves, but this doesn't work well because of the repetitive IP address.
Software programs called click bots might be used. These programs use multiple proxy servers to beat the repetitive IP problem, and can also randomize behavior to make the traffic seem more natural. These programs vary in sophistication and are harder to spot.
In the recent past, it was discovered that there are companies in places like India, where labor is very cheap, which use real people to click on ads. These people are spread out in different locations making the IP addresses all different and non-proxy. Moreover, they are real humans so their actions can seem more natural. This scheme can also be difficult to spot.
Click fraud are also generated by anonymous competitors. The competitor usually wants to compel you to stop advertising on a keyword or reduce the level of your bid. This often happens as a result of bidding wars. It also often takes place on the actual search pages. Any of the various methods of generating artificial clicks can be used, and the result is still the same. Increased costs.
If you are suspicious that your PPC campaign is not going exactly the way you would expect it to go, get in touch with a professional agent such as PPC Agency London who would advise and help you to set up and maintain a healthy PPC campaign.