Advertisers who advertise their services and products on search engines can be impacted by various forms of ad fraud. If you are using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, then it’s likely that you are going to come across click fraud. This type of ad fraud can cause problems for businesses as it will not only lower conversion rates, but also drive up advertising costs too.
If you are new to PPC and don’t know what click fraud is, this piece explores what it is and how to prevent it from affecting your business’ PPC ads.
What Is Click Fraud?
Click fraud (also known as pay-per-click fraud) involves falsely inflating the clicks on PPC ads that your business runs. The practice of this ad fraud varies as there are various click fraud methods that can be used by fraudsters, which can affect the performance of your ad campaigns.
For example, competitors may deliberately click on your ads, thus driving up the cost of PPC advertising. Alternatively, a person or bot may click on your PPC ads several times, thus depleting your business’ advertising budget.
Search engines, such as Google, rely heavily on the click-through-rate to determine a piece of content’s ranking. Your business may take advantage of this by gaming the system by inflating the number of clicks to a piece of content or page on your site, which will move it up the SERP.
This can have a negative impact on your business’ so it’s important that you don’t engage in click fraud with the PPC campaigns that you run.
How Does Click Fraud Work?
When it comes to how click fraud works, it involves a bot or person repeatedly clicking on your business’ PPC ads with no engagement or purchase intent. This type of ad fraud can happen through an automated bot or multiple people clicking on the ad they’re targeting through a click farm.
So what exactly are click farms? Click farms are run automatically by bots or people who regularly click on online advertisements, but have no intention of purchasing anything (or even engaging with the site). A click farm can be set up anywhere in the world as an independent enterprise or as a fully-fledged business and regularly engage in click fraud.
With a click bot, it’s a bot that’s been designed specifically for engaging in click fraud. A simple click bot will simply access a webpage and click the link, while a well-designed click bot will be programmed to mimic actions that a human would take. That would include mouse movements, timing between clicks and pauses before clicking on a page and much more.
What Are The Most Common Click Fraud Methods Used in PPC Advertising Campaigns?
There are various click fraud methods used to target PPC campaigns, which include video ads, in-app ads and ads hosted on Google to name but a few. But what are the most common click fraud methods used to target a business’ PPC advertising campaigns?
Click spamming is a common type of click fraud method used to target PPC campaigns. This type of click fraud can occur when a user opens up a mobile webpage or app that fraudsters are already operating in. Fraudsters can then perform fake clicks or send clicks to invisible ads that are operating in the background.
Geomasking is another common click fraud method that’s used amongst fraudsters. This technique can be used to hide the identity of the fraudster who has generated the clicks for that PPC ad that’s running. Depending on how valuable the location is, this can have an impact on how much advertisers spend on PPC campaigns.
There are two techniques that fraudsters use to geomask their click fraud activity, spoofing IP addresses and hiding their locations. Spoofing IP addresses can trick advertisers into thinking that clicks for a campaign in one location are more valuable than they are. Fraudsters can also hide the location of where they’re committing click fraud, making it harder for people to identify them.
These are just a few of the most common click fraud methods used to drive fraudulent activity in PPC campaign ads for businesses.
How To Prevent Click Fraud
There are a few ways that you can detect and prevent click fraud from affecting your business’ PPC campaigns. While it can be difficult to detect it straight away, it’s possible that you can limit the impact of click fraud on your business’ PPC ads.
Considering how you run display ads with your PPC campaigns is a good place to start as it enables you to have control over how your display ads are shown. Running retargeting ads will not only target your audience at various stages of the customer journey, but also make it harder for fraudsters to click on your PPC ads.
Manually excluding IP addresses in Google Ads can enable you to block ads from being served to IP addresses who have engaged in click fraud. Setting an exclusion up is relatively straightforward in Google Ads. First, go to the Settings tab and then scroll down to the IP Exclusions setting.
All you need to do is put in the IP addresses that have committed click fraud to your PPC ads and they won’t be able to see it on their search results. If your business is running multiple PPC campaigns, you will need to repeat this process in Google Ads to avoid your ads from being the victim of click fraud.
Concentrating on ad targeting will ensure that your PPC ads are less likely to fall victim to click fraud. When you are setting up a PPC ad, you want to make sure that your ad reaches people who will take action towards a product or service you are promoting. By focusing on a smaller, concentrated geographic area, it might make it difficult for fraudsters to click on them.
Utilising click fraud protection software, such as ClickCease and PPC Shield use algorithms to detect any fraudulent activity with your PPC ads. It’s worth trying one platform and seeing if they make an immediate impact on detecting possible click fraud activity.
If one software platform works for you, then it could make a major difference to how well your PPC ads perform long term. When it comes to how to prevent click fraud, utilising these methods can help ensure your ads are not severely affected by fraudsters.
How Ricemedia Can Detect And Prevent Click Fraud In Your PPC Campaigns
While you cannot fully prevent click fraud in your PPC ads, there is a lot that you can do to limit its impact. By knowing how click fraud works, as well as how to prevent it, it’ll ensure that your PPC ads continue to deliver results to your website.
Concerned about click fraud affecting your PPC ad campaigns? That’s where our expert PPC team at Ricemedia can come in and help. We’ll help set up your PPC campaigns and ensure any suspicious activity, such as click fraud is dealt with immediately. We will also make sure that your PPC campaigns are delivering results for your business from the get-go.
If you are looking for an agency that can help you get results, Ricemedia has more than two decades delivering digital marketing for clients across various industries. Get in touch with our expert PPC team today and we’ll help get you up-to-speed with PPC, as well as how to detect click fraud with your PPC ad campaigns.