Ralph PerrierJuly 5, 2016

VPN usage is becoming more popular every year as internet privacy awareness rises and people are learning how to protect themselves on the internet. However, not all VPN users have good intentions, and VPN as software can be used to harm your Google Ads campaigns and cause you to waste a ton of money. Therefore, in this article, we’ll cover all aspects of how VPN can affect your Google Ads campaigns and how to block VPN traffic so protect your ROAS and your business.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a program that hides the IP address of a computer system. This means that users can browse with greater anonymity because the data they leave behind on sites cannot be linked directly to them. There are some good reasons for wanting to use a VPN these days, and also some pretty malicious ones.

People might want to hide their identity using a VPN if they live under a particularly oppressive regime, and want to browse the whole web freely. They might also want to trick a service provider like Netflix or Youtube into thinking that they're accessing the service from a different location, to allow them greater access.

These reasonably legitimate reasons to use a VPN hardly constitute a threat. However, the anonymity such a service provides allows users to engage in much more sinister activities. These might include the distribution of illegal pornography, the piracy of music or movies, and the committing of illegal actions, such as click fraud.

Should You Block VPN Traffic on Your Google Ads Campaigns?

As we've already established, not all VPN traffic will be fraudulent, or even engaging in illegal activity. This makes the question of whether or not to block all VPN traffic a tricky one. There are, indeed, people who are genuinely concerned for their privacy online.

These people may live in oppressive countries, or they might just feel uncomfortable with the amount of data companies are collecting on them and their browsing habits. While these people may be valuable customers, it is our experience that the vast majority of VPN users will be up to no good.

Remember, your campaigns rely on people not only accessing your page, but making a purchase too. Those that do access the page and don't make a purchase just cost your business money. It's worth considering the notion that those operating a VPN for non-malicious reasons are concerned about their privacy online.

Are these really the sorts of people who are likely to make many online purchases? If they're uncomfortable about their IP address being out on the world wide web, then they are likely to be equally concerned about using their bank details, name, address, and phone number to buy something online.

In our opinion, a blanket ban on all VPN users is the correct way to handle the issue. The potential damage a click fraud attack can cause to your campaign far outweighs the good that can come from very few additional legitimate views. It's a tough stance, but when the stakes are so high, decisive actions speak the loudest.

How To Block VPN Traffic on Your Google Ads Campaigns?

To be completely honest with you - you can’t. At least not without click fraud protection software.

The reason for this is that VPN users can change their IP address as many times as they want, which makes your defensive line of blocking a certain IP address pretty much useless. 

One thing that could help is blocking all countries that are not the target of your Google Ads campaigns, and that will definitely reduce the chance of your ads being molested by fraudsters. However, if they have a good VPN, they’d have no problem switching multiple IP addresses within the same country.

So how to handle this?

We’d strongly recommend going with a Click Fraud Protection Software!

Besides numerous features that you’ll get, one of the features is our solution of detecting VPN traffic and blocking it. 

Even though VPN is very sneaky when it comes to its online presence, it still leaves its footprints and a good Click Fraud Protection Software has no problems detecting it. Moreover, if fraudsters or even big click farms are using VPN, Tor Browser, or any other tool that can help them mask their identity, Click Fraud Protection Software will be able to recognize the mask and block all traffic intended to do you harm, saving you a ton of money.

Is all VPN traffic fraudulent?

Absolutely not. 

As we mentioned before, there are a lot of people out there who are genuinely just seeking to protect their online presence, their privacy, and their data. 

We’re pretty confident that you personally know someone who uses VPN for protection purposes, which is why people generally consider VPN as a good tool used for good purposes. And in general, it is.

However, just like there are people looking to protect themselves, there are a lot of scammers using VPN software for their fraudulent intentions.

How To Spot VPN Traffic?

This is the trickiest part.

VPN traffic is so hard to detect simply because of dynamic presence - location and IP address can change in a matter of seconds and they can switch servers faster than you switching socks!

The one thing scammers usually can’t change that fast is their device (which leads to the footprint we mentioned earlier).

Some click fraud protection software (including ours) don’t just remember and scan locations and IP addresses but also devices connected to them and assigns them unique numbers in our database. That way, if VPN traffic starts going wild in a day, or after 20 days of rest, click fraud protection software will be able to spot it and block it within seconds.

Are There Any Other Ways to Block VPN Traffic Without Click Fraud Protection Software?

Yes, but these ways are super advanced and you would be able to figure them out only if you’re really good with how networks work and if you have a ton of time and energy.

The benefit of using the software is that it doesn’t just save you money, but it saves you a lot of time, as Click Fraud Protection Software never sleeps - it constantly scans and monitors traffic coming on your Google Ads campaigns.

However, if you’re persistent that you want to give it a go, then definitely make sure to do so! 

We could write a book on how to stop VPN traffic without clicking fraud protection software, but in the end, you will have to learn networking fully so we’re just going to point you in the right direction - learn everything about detecting ports and blocking them!

If at any point this becomes too much, our Click Fraud Protection Software still waits with a free trial to do all the heavy lifting!

Ralph works with department leads to ensure they are well-integrated, highly motivated and focused on changing the AdTech space for digital marketers by delivering game-changing products and personal experiences.