Click fraud is a huge problem facing PPC advertisers online. Put simply, click fraud is any unwanted click on an advertisement on the internet. The problem is that you're buying space from publishers on a pay-per-click basis. It can be very difficult indeed to gauge which sites provide good traffic and which only provide hoax visits. After you have entered an agreement with a particular publisher it is even more difficult to determine which of the clicks from their sources that end up at your product's website are genuine and which are fraudulent.

Reasons for practicing click fraud

How to determine if you're the victim of PPC campaign click fraud

Of course, not every visit to your website will result in a sale. Far from it, in fact. What is important, however, is that those who visit the website have the potential to make a purchase from you. This is not the case with “fake” clickers. They will literally never buy from you no matter how great your price, or product is.

The first step towards eliminating fraudulent clickers from your PPC campaign is to ensure that you are in fact a victim of the malicious practice. We've outlined some tell-tall click fraud signifiers below:

Abnormal volume of clicks

If when checking the figures on your AdWords PPC campaign, you noticed a huge number of clicks but you aren't increasing the number of sales you make, this is a solid indicator that something more sinister may be going on. Sure, it's not really enough to be convinced that your ad campaign is under attack but it is a perfectly reasonable prompt for further investigation.

No one ever completes a purchase

When checking click data, take a look at the habits of the “visitors”. Do they fill up the shopping cart, and never check it out? Do they sporadically browse the site with no seeming reasoning? If the answer to any of this, and with any frequency, then the signs are definitely pointing towards click fraud. Seek some professional help at this stage.

Your budget is quickly exhausted with no sign of conversions

Check out the times of visits too, if you seem to get swamped for an hour or two early in the day, completely exhausting your budget in as short a time as possible, then this could be a sign of a botnet attack against you.

Based on the times of the attack, you may also be able to determine the most likely perpetrator of the action. There may be offshore fraud perpetration companies clicking on your ads at odd hours.

Conclusion

If you want to prevent click fraud, it's something you need to manage. You need to monitor your ads, their clicks, the geographical origin of the their clicks, and the frequency of their clicks with no conversion.

Most software tools provide a very low level of protection from click fraud; however, technology is evolving and if you want to prevent a larger percentage of fraudulent clicks, there are resources available.

Click fraud refers to the process of generating unwanted clicks on PPC advertising campaigns. These clicks are unwanted because, for whatever reason, they will never generate a sale. They might be caused by a human, or a program (bot), but either way, no matter how many visits they make to your page, you will never make a sale from them.

A Threat From Your Competitor?

The activity of click fraud is in the digital marketing era is rampant. Click fraud can happen for a number of reasons and is a bigger threat than you may realize. There are instances of  companies hiring offshore firms to fraudulently click on your sponsored ads in order to exhaust your AdWords budget and get you out of the game so that their ads show up over yours.

There are even occurances of third party sites that feature your ad placements and then click on your ads in order to inflate their percentage of ad income from your placements.

The estimated damages to victimized advertisers reaches well into the billions, and it doesn't look like it's going to be coming to a stop any time soon. For placement firms, there is very little incentive to fix the problem. The percentage of profit from fraudulent clicks is too great. This is, of course, can be disastrous for any marketing campaign. Paying for space that is not viewed by humans willing (or capable) to make a sale definitely wasn't part of the business plan.

PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising and Click Fraud

Advertisers who want brand exposure on search engines spend vast amounts of money bidding on targeted keywords for AdWord search engine listings, as wells as ad placements on third party sites. Initially, the advertiser sees the large number of clicks and believes that their ads are gaining traction.

However, what they don't know is that industry experts now believe that up 45% of clicks on these sponsored ad are fraudulent. Although these clicks may seem engaging at first, advertisers soon discovery they do not necessarily convert into sales.

Further inspection shows that the clickers don't stay on the site or landing page long, which can increase bounce rates, and they're exhausting your ad budget. For small businesses, it can be extremely frustrating to continually expend such marketing capital and receive such a small return.

What are my options for dealing with click fraud?

The best way to deal with suspected competitor click fraud (or click fraud of any kind, for that matter) is to use an easy-to-use click fraud prevention and protection software platform like ClickGUARD. Using sophisticated parameters to identify and automatically block suspected perpetrators, such services can help advertisers to improve their overall ROIs, and make better decisions for their advertising campaigns.

By taking control of the task, ClickGUARD can make sure you're able to concentrate on more creative elements of your advertising, such as getting your genuine clickers to convert.

Digital advertising is on the verge of the uncertainty. With its importance and use increasing on a daily basis, it still carries a battle with the ugliest circumstances that deliberately sabotage their effectiveness. Those circumstances are known as click frauds - the act of fake ad clicks that end up zeroing ad budgets and generating bogus traffic.

It’s obvious that those clicks end up in nothing close to conversions and the ad managers run out of budget. But then again, as Roxanne Barretto, Assistant Vice President for U.S. Digital Marketing at L'Oreal SA, noticed, “digital is too important”. Yes, digital is absolutely too important in order to let fraudulent actions get an upper hand and not let online advertising achieve the performance marketers were hoping to achieve.

Digital Ads in the face of a rampant Crisis

According to the article by Suzanne Vranica of The Wall Street Journal, many big corporations have also suffered from click fraud fake traffic. The article sums up the overall situation about the current state of online advertising and click frauds.

Apparently, ad frauds ended up having huge gains from their malicious actions and leaving not just one marketer a little unsettled. Click frauds have made the online ad industry an unsafe environment for the internet users. However, marketers are not giving up.

How do they fight it, then?

Well, as the hackers are finding more and more sophisticated methods to implement their illicit acts, so do professional programmers. Of course, their motives and goals differ tremendously. And while cyber criminals think of the very many ways they can benefit from click frauds, programmers spare no efforts to find solutions to those said frauds.

Marketers have now become more aware of the cyber dangers that threaten their PPC ad campaigns, traffic and conversion rates. They refer to the help of ad monitoring and fraud detection companies and software to keep their ads effective, budget untouched, and traffic not fake.

How can I get a click fraud protection service of my own?

There are a few common methods to prevent click frauds from happening to your ads. You can always make sure to set your ad only on reputable and high authority websites. And you can target only specific countries that are proved to guarantee conversions for your business. But when safety precautions do not help the matter, there’s only one solution left to try - monitoring.

With the help of click fraud protection software such as ClickGuard, you can monitor your ad clicks and respond accordingly. This software analyzes the clicks and whenever a fraudulent click is caught, it blocks the IP address it comes from. That’s why it’s a win-win situation to have access to all of that 24/7.

Online advertising crisis is pretty big with many large businesses referring to professional help for click fraud detection and protection. General Motors, Lenovo Group, Coca-Cola Co and others have already started using click fraud protection software and methods. What about you?

Each product promotion campaign definitely includes digital advertising. As the world progresses, more and more people spend most of their time on their phones and computers. Why spend millions on radios and TV ads if Facebook has 1.94 billion monthly active users and Instagram proudly maintains 700 million monthly active users? Running targeted ads on social media and other online platforms can boost conversion rates and drive traffic to your website.

What digital advertising has to offer is very tempting for marketers. Pay-per-click ads are the most promising ones. The concept of PPC ads is very simple: you publish an ad on, let’s say, Facebook and pay in accordance with the number of clicks. If you are wondering how much PPC ads cost then you are in the right place.

So, How Much?

There are numerous factors that decide the price of the PPC ads. First of all, it depends on the publisher, each site has its own pricing. Take a look at some of the big ones:

$0.27 or $1 might seem like a small number but in reality, they total up to a significant sum. Ads are investments and marketers expect high ROIs from them. Using the full potential of PPC ads is much harder.  If you don’t implement them right then the cost of the ads will be multiple times as much.

Mistakes won’t literally increase the price but decrease the effectiveness of the ad, leading you to pay again for them. Continuously running PPC ads and hoping that one of them might work is by far not addressing the issue.

Here are some costly mistakes that you should avoid:

These are rookie mistakes that will eliminate prospective clients instead of attracting them.

Click Frauds Eat Up Your Ad Budget

Whenever we talk about PPC ads, we have to remind ourselves about online ad fraud. The biggest financial damage to your ad campaign comes from cyber criminals who perform click frauds. In spite of how big your business is, your ad budget is definitely not unlimited. You set up the ads to increase your sales and end up with slightly changed numbers. And you keep spending money on PPC ads. As a result, the initial ads related expenses are replaced with wasted money.

If you don’t take precautionary actions for click fraud prevention and detection then the cost of a click will be much higher than you can ever expect. Luckily, there is software like ClickGuard that will help you save your money for better things.

Custom made algorithms have the capacity to detect any fraudulent activities that interfere with your clicks. ClickGuard will automatically block the IP address where the suspicious clicks come from, thus leaving you with quality clicks.

Online ads, fraud traffic or click fraud detection are not the only tasks of your marketing department. Spare them the trouble and time and refer to a professional help.

Around 10 years ago the only way to perform click fraud was by manually clicking on the ads. If you think about it, click frauds used to take a lot of time and effort. For one thing, finding those ads could have been a lot of trouble. But not now. The evil, yet genius minds of programmers are capable of generating sets of codes and scripts that can lead to ad frauds.

The software that intends to damage computer or computer systems is called Malware. It is short for malicious software. Malware does not act on its own, it has something in form of a support. A website that pops up when you click on an ad or strange landing pages can contain Malware. One of the most common ways of attacking computers with Malware is through emails called phishing emails.

Recently, the web was invaded by Redirector.Paco, new Malware that makes money through Google AdSense. They have managed to make their way to 900.000 computers worldwide. Each computer is a potential source of click frauds.

Breaking Down Redirector.Paco

Redirector.Paco is quite of an elaborate technique. The cyber criminals tried to replace traffics via search engines like Google and Yahoo. And they successfully did it until they got caught.

The malicious fraudsters aimed to redirect all traffic performed when using a search engine and change the results with others retrieved from a Google custom search.

This allowed them to generate money from Google AdSense, which naturally belongs to Google and permits publishers in the Google Network of content sites to serve all kinds of targeted advertisements based on content and audience. Google can generate revenue from these ads on either a per-click or per-impression basis.

Redirector.Paco utilized the searches of average users for their own gain. Since they installed fake certificates in the system, the browsers thought they had a secure connection with the search engines. Meanwhile, the tasks scheduled in advance ran scripts that altered the internet settings of the user. Then, with the remote proxy server, the software redirected the traffic.

How Does the Software Get to Your Computer?

I briefly mentioned it at the beginning, so let me elaborate a little more on this issue. You get an email in your inbox with an urgent subject line, sometimes even too tempting. You click on it and that’s all it takes for Malware to get to your device. Viruses spread by phishing emails are the top causes of click frauds.

Therefore, your first step toward click fraud prevention is not opening such emails. If it’s from an unknown sender, the subject line is urgent but artificial and not so specific, then it is a red flag for you not to click on it.

Click Fraud Detection Software

Another method that will help you protect your investment and run effective ads is by detecting the PPC click fraud as soon as possible and monitoring the clicks. The main objective of software like ClickGuard is to inspect the clicks and identify doubtful activities. The special algorithms will find the crooks and block them so that your ad reaches its targets and provides you with traffic and conversion rates.

The Ultimate Toolbox for Elite Forensic Data-Driven Marketers

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