How to Combat Click Fraud

How to Combat Click Fraud

How to Combat Click Fraud in Your PPC Campaigns

Every time somebody comes up with a good idea, somebody else figures out how to exploit it. Learn how to combat click fraud in your PPC campaigns here so that you don’t become the victim.

In 2017, a report suggested that $16.4 billion were wasted by advertisers due to fake traffic and click fraud. That is a lot of money to waste.

When you set up an ad campaign, you expect to see some serious results. No one expects 100% perfection all the time, and it’s normal to get a few fraudulent clicks here and there, but there’s nothing normal about $16.4 billion wasted.

Is there a way to combat click fraud or is the pay-per-click advertising scene doomed to suffer this unfortunate and malicious sort of tampering forever?

Luckily enough there is a way to prevent or dissuade click fraud. We’ll talk about how in this article.

What is Click Fraud?

If you’ve spent any time in the pay-per-click advertising scene, you know that when you start a pay-per-click campaign you can expect to pay for every click that your ad gets. But you expect the people who click on your ad to be people who are interested in your product in a genuine way.

However, in 2017, 1 out of every 5 clicks on advertisements were fake clicks.

This means that someone, or something, clicked on the ad with the aim to generate charges for whoever is doing the advertising.

The Impact of Click Fraud

Wasted money is just one part of the many dangers of click fraud. Not only does it waste your money, but click fraud also frustrates and takes away an advertiser’s motivation to continue.

It messes up the data that advertisers use to make important marketing decisions. It can even go so far as to change the usefulness of an entire keyword, leading advertisers to give up on it entirely.

However, there are a few measures you can take to avoid click fraud in the future.

1. Do Your Research

If you have enough data and pay attention to the information on each keyword closely, you’ll be able to spot a problem pretty quickly.

Once you notice the problem is there, all you have to do is dig a little bit deeper. Are you getting a lot of clicks from the same IP address or addresses? Are a lot of those clicks coming from countries that you don’t service?

If you’re positive that these IP addresses are the ones that cause you problems with fraudulent clicks, you don’t have to just accept it and move on.

AdWords allows you to set up exclusions for IP addresses that you suspect of fraudulent activity. All you have to do is go to the “settings” tab and scroll until you find the IP Exclusions setting. put the IP number in and that IP address won’t be able to see your ad anymore.

2. Look to Publishers

Just about anyone with a blog is allowed to use Google ads. All they have to do is create an AdSense account and they can start to profit.

Instead of working to grow their blog and increasing the visitors that click on the ads on their website in a natural way, some webmasters will click on their own ads. This is a violation of Google’s rules, but it still happens.

However, if you don’t enable the display network option, your ad only shows up on Google’s search engines. This means that third-party websites cant display your ad, and webmasters won’t profit off of clicks.

It is a viable option if you want to cut down on webmaster-based click fraud to turn this feature off. However, you’re going to get hit with less traffic when you do this.

If you target expensive keywords, this might be the way to go. Otherwise, you should be safe.

3. Adjust Your Targeting

As we mentioned in tip number one, in order to stop click fraud you have to do some research. When you know where your clicks are coming from, you can stop the people who wish to do your campaign harm.

If you think a majority of fraudulent clicks come from a specific region, like a “danger zone” country, consider cutting out that country and the language from your targeting.

Competitor click fraud is an issue too. You can also choose not to target their zip code or city if you suspect this is a problem.

However, a word of caution: don’t cut back on your targeting too much. When you do, you might be getting rid of the good traffic as well as the fraudulent clicks. If you know for certain that most of the clicks are coming from one area, exclude it. But don’t go crazy with it.

4. Turn to Facebook or Twitter Advertisement

If you’ve tried these other measures to avoid click fraud but you still get a lot of clicks that lead to no sales or new customers, it might be time to look at taking your advertising to another platform.

One of the best things about Twitter or Facebook ads is that they only show up on Twitter or Facebook. No one else is involved.

Also, because of the hyper-advanced algorithm usage, your advertisements only show up for the relevant people. This means that your competitors are less likely to see your ads.

Stop Click Fraud in its Tracks

At the end of the day, you want to make the most out of your advertising budget. The last thing you need is for someone, or something, to click on your advertisements in an effort to rack up your bill and sabotage your campaign. Unfortunately, click fraud is a real issue and almost everyone with a pay-per-click campaign experiences it.

But if you take the measures we’ve talked about above, you’re one step closer to stopping click fraud in its tracks.

For more information about managing and protecting your pay-per-click campaign, visit us today.

Click Thru Rates

Click Thru Rates

What Click-Through Rate Should You Strive For?

What Click-Through Rate Should You Strive For?

Click-through rate, or CTR, is an estimation of the number of people who click on an ad versus the total number of people (impressions) the ad reaches. Check out our article to learn more about what is a good rate to strive for, as well how to calculate it.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has a steady foothold on today’s best digital marketing strategies. Why? Because the advantages are plentiful.

PPC ads have the ability to hone in on specific demographics and searches, as well as deliver real-time performance metrics to help you measure and adjust the effectiveness of your campaigns. In short, it gives you more control for better results.

Google reported that Adwords users receive a two dollar average return on every single dollar spent on optimized campaigns. It’s a strong return on investment (ROI) that has made it a go-to tool for many businesses.

But in order to achieve these kinds of results, you have to have a solid strategy. This includes an efficient click-through rate that supports your desired ROI.

What is Click-Through Rate?

Click-through rate, or CTC, is a key indicator of how well your digital campaign is performing. However, before we dive into this term’s definition, you need to know the basics of PPC advertising metrics, including its terminology.

Below is a list of key terms used in measuring every campaign:

  • Impressions: the number of times your ad shows up in a user’s search
  • Bid: the maximum amount you are willing to pay per click
  • Daily Budget: the amount you are willing to spend per day on an ad
  • Campaign: a collection of ad groups sharing the same target and budget
  • Clicks: The action in which a user clicks on your ad
  • Click-Through Rate or CTR: a measurement used to gauge how effectively you’re reaching your target audience by averaging what percentage of impressions lead to clicks
  • Cost-Per-Click or CPC: the average cost of each individual click
  • Conversion: the act of a user following through on your ad’s call-to-action, whether it’s a form fill, call, purchase, or other desired action
  • Conversion Rate: the average of conversion based on how many clicks follow through with your call-to-action

While there are numerous other terms used within the realm of PPC campaign creation and management, these terms are essential to understanding your campaign’s performance.

Identify your CTR by dividing the number of clicks your ad has garnered by the number of impressions its had thus far. The number received from this formula is the percentage of impressions that have converted into clicks.

Simply put, it tells you how well your ad is performing. An ad that shows up often but rarely garners clicks isn’t performing well. This is typically due to poor keyword choices or a weak message or call-to-action.

The Click-Through Rate Benchmarks

So how do you know whether your click-through rate is good or bad? One great Adwords tool to help you gauge your performance is a feature called Google’s Quality Score Formula.

This simple 1 through 10 scale lets you know how relevant your ads are to the individuals whose search it shows up in. The more relevant your ad, the higher your score.

This rating takes into consideration how others ads in your industry are performing, so its a great way to gauge your success in comparison with your competitors.

However, it isn’t the only way to evaluate your campaign. There are other important benchmarks to consider, such as Cost-Per-Click (CPC), Cost-Per-Action (CPA), Conversion Rate (CVR), and, of course, Click-Through Rate (CTR).

All of these benchmarks are ones you should monitor throughout the course of your campaign. Waiting until the end of your campaign to evaluate its performance prevents you from reaching optimal performance.

One of the greatest advantages of PPC campaigns is their flexibility. You can update and tweak your ad groups, ad sets, individual ads, bids, and more throughout the course of its lifetime.

But how? What should you adjust in your campaign in order to increase its performance?

This answer is the core of this blog, and we dive deep into it below.

How to Improve Your Click-Through Rate on Adwords

If you want to reap excellent results from your PPC campaign, you’ll want to do pay attention to three key elements: targeting, message, and keywords.

Identify Your Target Audience

Who you target is essential to your ad’s performance. Know your core audience.

What are their needs?

What attracts them to your product?

How do they prefer to communicate?

When you know the demographics and nature of the people you are advertising to, you can identify the best way to communicate with them. This is why it’s the first step and a very important one.

Craft Relatable Ad Copy

After you identify your audience, you can start to craft your message. Ad copy should speak to the user on a personal level.

Don’t hard-sell your product or service. Instead, talk to your customer in a way that connects with them on a personal level. Express empathy and provide a solution.

Establish and Maintain the Right Keywords

Last–but far from least–is building and managing your keyword list. Every campaign has a unique set of keywords that tells Google where to place your ad.

This list is constantly evolving as your campaign runs, which means it requires steady maintenance. Pay close attention to the keywords you input, as well as the keywords you acquire.

Ask yourself:

  • Are they relevant to your product and service?
  • Do they align with search terms users would use while searching for your product or service?

Never, ever fall into the habit of keyword stuffing. Quality is better than quantity. Zero in on the words and phrases that make sense and weed out the ones that don’t.

This will directly improve your ad’s performance by ensuring you don’t waste impressions on useless or irrelevant search results.

Improve Your ROI with PPC Management Service

Are you ready to improve your click-through rate and your ROI, but you don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself?

We get it. Managing your digital campaigns is a full-time job. Sometimes it’s better to hire a third-party vendor to take the reins for you while you focus on running the business you know best.

Talk to us about our Google AdWords Management Service. As Google Partners, we have the certifications and tools to drive your campaigns to success.

Securing Your URL’s with HTTPS

Securing Your URL’s with HTTPS

Bing Ads Recommends Securing Your Web Sites With https

On July 9th, Bing Ads wrote on their blog that they strongly recommend all websites obtain an SSL certificate and have their sites secured using SSL.

Bing went on to say “Ensuring customer privacy is critical to your business and to ours.  To protect your customers’ information and assure them your website is secure when they see your ad, Bing Ads strongly recommends you update your URLs to use the HTTPS protocol instead of HTTP. Because of the security and performance benefits associated with its use, HTTPS has become the new standard protocol used on the web (as opposed to the original HTTP).”

There are two main reasons Bing is making this recommendation now:

  1. “Starting this month, the web browser Google Chrome will begin marking all Opens in new window HTTP pages as “Not secure.” So if your website is still an HTTP URL instead of HTTPS, Chrome users who click on your ads will see your URL marked as “Not secure” in the address bar.”
  2. Because of the security and performance benefits associated with its use, HTTPS has become the new standard (as opposed to the original HTTP).

How do you check if your site supports HTTPS?
Open your website in a Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge:
If you see a green lock icon to the left of the URL, then your site supports HTTPS (for Edge, this lock may be transparent instead of green).
If the lock does not appear, try re-entering your website URL with “https://” instead of “http://”.
If the page doesn’t load, then your site does not support HTTPS.

If your site is not secure (https) contact your hosting company.  Once your site is secure, make sure you update your Bing and Google Ads, so that they reflect the new URL.

Google AdWords Becomes Google Ads

Google AdWords Becomes Google Ads

Google AdWords is becoming Google Ads

Google’s Sridhar Ramaswamy recently announced that Google AdWords will change it’s name to Google Ads.

Ramswamy, Senior Vice President, Ads & Commerce at Google, went on to say “That’s why today we are introducing simpler brands and solutions for our advertising products: Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, and Google Ad Manager. These new brands will help advertisers and publishers of all sizes choose the right solutions for their businesses, making it even easier for them to deliver valuable, trustworthy ads and the right experiences for consumers across devices and channels. As part of this change, we are releasing new solutions that help advertisers get started with Google Ads and drive greater collaboration across teams. “

This new brand will represent the full range of Google’s advertising capabilities on and partner sites and apps on both Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Play and across the web.

For small businesses, Google Ads will introduce a new campaign type (automated settings) that makes it easier to get started with PPC advertising.  It uses machine learning technology with the goal of making campaign setup and management easier and more hands off.  For those advertisers who prefer a professionally managed Google Ads account, then you’ll want to consider hiring a Google Ads management specialist like 

Google Analytics 360 Suite will be bundled with DoubleClick advertiser products under a single brand: Google Marketing Platform


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