You can either say it to be intentional or the impact of the steep competition when we talk about click fraud. In the past few years, this illegal practice of ethical norms is under huge pressure of fake visitors and has become a serious concern for PPC practitioners.
This is also hindering the advertisers from exploring the much result oriented paid search as there has been a hesitation among advertisers due to click fraud.
Though PPC practitioners and account holders have taken measures to keep an eye on their account and have adopted strict actions to protect themselves against such malpractice but still this is witnessing growth day by day.
What actually is click fraud?
It is a black hat technique that happens when individuals intentionally click on a paid advertisements to increase a payable number of clicks to the advertiser.
This can be done manually where an individual click the advertising hyperlink or it can be done with help of automated software or bots that are developed for this particular task of clicking banner ads and PPC text ad links.
There are two intentions behind adopting this malpractice.
- Some advertisers try to damage their competitors by increasing their paid search cost and meeting their paid budget caps early on in the day.
- The ad publisher clicks on the ads on his own website to generate additional revenue for himself.
- You try to create fake visitors or increase the number of downloads of your app without/without App split testing
Who usually does click fraud?
- Competitors: You know it but you can’t help it. Everybody wants to survive the steep competition and want their piece of cake. This is why competitors indulge into this malpractice to drive up the cost of his competitor who is ranking high in SERPs. This all is done to push the competitor out of the market and establish one’s own company in the sponsored listing.
- Website owners: Numerous publishers click on their own site ads to make it more appealing for ad placement.
- Unaware Customers: Customers unintentionally add to click fraud by repeatedly click through on PPC ads to access a website instead of using a bookmark or search function. This unawareness of customers often creates a problem for the genuine advertisers.
Are Search Engines Doing Anything About Click Fraud?
Well, looking at the growing agitation among the advertisers the search engines are getting a lot of flak for not taking strict measures to stop this malpractice. So to maintain the popularity and reputation the major ad platforms have unleashed their task forces to fight against this malpractice.
The most popular search engine Google has taken a strict action against click fraud by creating a robust anti-click fraud program. The program uses 3 pronged approaches with the help of automated filters.
So to maintain the popularity and reputation the major ad platforms have unleashed their task forces to fight against this malpractice. The most popular search engine Google has taken a strict action against click fraud by creating a robust anti-click fraud program.
The program uses 3 pronged approaches with the help of automated filters.
- The advanced automatic filters detect invalid clicks in real time and filter them out so that advertisers are not charged for false clicks as they don’t appear in his account reports.
- Google’s Ad Traffic Quality Team also investigates anomalies and fluctuations and removes invalid click based on suspicious activity before the advertiser is charged.
- Google also takes advertiser’s reports of suspicious activities very seriously and launches an investigation into every matter. So any malpractice that is detected is labeled as invalid and doesn’t impact the advertiser’s account.
How can you save your ad cost budget against click fraud?
The biggest weakness of automatic click fraud is that it is very easy to trace. The IP address used for multiple clicks can be tracked down very easily. But manual clicks are hard to trace and are mostly considered as accidental.
Though search engines are putting the best efforts to curb the malpractice but it is your very own analysis that is the most important. You can do your analysis and can raise your query with Google by filling and submitting a form based on your investigation.
This self-evaluation step is very vital to save your costs from the threat of click fraud. Here are some steps you can take to monitor any sort of suspicious activity.
- Use techniques like Shopping cart elite to track clicks on your website and set different matrices in place to identify click fraud.
- Recognize the metrics to audit.
- Always use specialist software for tracking these metrics.
- After tracking the metrics audit these metric values to develop a benchmark.
- Review all the current metric values against the benchmark values.
- Now if the benchmark thresholds are way beyond then report and submit the complete audited data to search engines.
You can take help of numerous firewall, monitoring and blocking tools, and services to trace the malpractice. Remember that search engines are doing their bit of work but it is ultimately you who have to inspect the quality of every ad click to separate non-converting clicks from genuine ad clicks.
Featured photo credit: searchland.com via searchengineland.com