- Published: Nov 23, 2021
- 6 min. read
Matthew GibbonsLead Data & Tech Writer
- Matthew is a marketing expert focusing on the SEO & martech spaces. He has written over 500 marketing guides and video scripts for the WebFX YouTube channel. When he’s not striving to put out some fresh blog posts and articles, he’s usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one of the best marketing strategies online because it’s a cost-effective way to reach qualified leads. Since you only pay for your ads when people click on them, you have more control over your budget.
However, that’s exactly why click fraud is such an enormous problem. Normally, clicks indicate interest in your business, but fraudulent clicks don’t, and they can skyrocket your costs without bringing in revenue. For that reason, it’s essential to invest time in click fraud prevention.
But what is click fraud? More than that, how can you prevent click fraud? Read on to find out the answers to both of those questions. Then subscribe to Revenue Weekly — our email newsletter — to get more digital marketing tips from the agency with over 25 years of experience!
What is click fraud?
Click fraud refers to the practice of intentionally clicking on paid ads to drive up the advertiser’s costs or boost publisher revenue. This type of ad fraud comes from malicious entities that have no legitimate interest in the ad and no intention of converting, resulting in wasted ad spend.
Why does click fraud prevention matter?
If your business starts experiencing click fraud, it’s critical that you stop it as soon as possible. In fact, it’s a good idea to put preventative tactics in action before it happens.
The reason it’s so important to prevent click fraud is that it does financial damage to your company. You pay for your PPC ads based on when people click on them. Usually, people click on ads out of interest, so a significant portion will lead to conversions — enough to generate an overall profit.
But click fraud never comes with any intention of converting. So, if your ads start getting spammed with fraudulent clicks, it means you end up spending money on your ads without earning revenue in return.
Furthermore, click fraud will skew all your data. You can’t accurately judge the quality of your ads, because you can’t see what percentage of the clicks are from actual leads.
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Where does click fraud come from?
Some of the most common sources include the following:
- Fraud bots: Fraud bots are created by fraud rings to generate clicks on ads that use the platforms they own. By doing so, they drive up revenue for themselves while escalating advertisers’ costs.
- Competitors: If your competitors are particularly malicious, they may generate fake clicks on your ads. If your ads have daily click limits, this behavior causes them to stop running early so the competitors can outrank you — plus, it eats up your ad budget.
- Publishers: When you display ads on third-party websites, the money you pay for clicks goes to the publishers of those sites. Some publishers may generate fake clicks on your ads so that you must pay them more money.
To stop these types of entities from wasting your ad spend, you’ll want to have a strong click fraud prevention strategy in place.
How can you prevent click fraud?
Ad fraud can hurt your business, so it’s crucial to practice click fraud prevention. But how can you stop click fraud?
Here are four ways you can prevent click fraud from harming your advertising campaigns!
1. Focus your ad targeting
Most types of paid ads allow you to target specific groups of people with your ads. In Google Ads, for instance, you can create custom audiences that you want to target. You can choose from different demographics like age, gender, and location.
The more you focus your ad targeting, the more protection you’ll have against click fraud. That’s because people engaging in click fraud will often be outside that audience, so by focusing your ad targeting, you’ll prevent them from finding your ads.
Refining your ad targeting is also a good idea in general, as it enables you to better reach your target audience without wasting your ad resources on an irrelevant audience.
2. Keep an eye on your ad metrics
Whenever you run a paid advertising campaign, you should see different analytics related to your ads’ performance. Conversion rate and click-through rate (CTR) are two of the main metrics you’ll want to track.
Make sure to keep a close eye on your PPC analytics. If you start experiencing click fraud, your metrics will reflect it. You might see your CTR spike out of nowhere, but your conversion rate stay the same — if you see this behavior, it likely indicates fraudulent clicks.
The sooner you notice this change, the sooner you can start taking steps to resolve the issue and stop click fraud.
3. Implement IP exclusions
In most cases, you can view the IP addresses associated with all the clicks your ads receive. Whenever you notice suspicious activity among your ad clicks, you can check to see the source of those clicks.
When you see large numbers of clicks coming from just a few IP addresses, especially if they’re in areas you aren’t marketing to, that could indicate click fraud — particularly if those clicks are never accompanied by conversions.
If this happens with your Google PPC ads, you can then go into Google Ads and set up IP exclusions. IP exclusions let you select suspicious IP addresses to block from seeing your ads and prevent your ads from displaying to those addresses again.
4. Invest in click fraud prevention software
It can be difficult to manage all potential sources of click fraud on your own. Sometimes you need some outside help to stop click fraud, which is why it’s a great idea to invest in some click fraud prevention software.
With the right tool, you can do a lot to cut down on fraudulent clicks. Click fraud protection software can detect things like fraud bots and block them from clicking on your ads. Some tools can also help you apply for refunds from Google when you discover that fraudulent clicks have been costing you money.
Our long list of services helps you grow every aspect of your business with marketing strategies that are proven to increase bottom-line metrics like revenue and conversions. In the past 5 years, we’ve managed more than 12.9 MILLION transactions across our client base.
Time to Level Up Your Sales
Our long list of services helps you grow every aspect of your business with marketing strategies that are proven to increase bottom-line metrics like revenue and conversions.
In the past 5 years, we’ve managed more than 12.9 MILLION transactions across our client base.
Get help with your click fraud prevention strategy from WebFX
Looking to ramp up your click fraud prevention, but in need of some professional help? Let WebFX take the reins! We’ve earned over 1090 client testimonials for our proficiency with digital marketing and advertising, and we can’t wait to show you that proficiency firsthand.
With our paid advertising services, not only will you get help preventing click fraud, but you’ll also get professionally designed ads that target the right audience and drive more revenue!
Matthew is a marketing expert focusing on the SEO & martech spaces. He has written over 500 marketing guides and video scripts for the WebFX YouTube channel. When he’s not striving to put out some fresh blog posts and articles, he’s usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.
WebFX is a full-service marketing agency with 1000+ client reviews and a 4.9-star rating on Clutch! Find out how our expert team and revenue-accelerating tech can drive results for you! Learn more
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