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.