Click fraud refers to the practice of falsely increasing the amount of hits on a pay-per-click advert online. This means that any click on an advertisement that has no possibility of converting into real business for the advertiser can be defined as a click fraud. The practice involves either third-parties, or publishers artificially increasing the number of times an advertisement link is followed using either low paid workers, or bots. Common motives behind click fraud are:
- Advertisers trying to drive up a competitor's costs
- Advertising publishers attempting to generate more revenue for themselves by repeatedly clicking on a given advert
Identifying click fraud
Identifying click fraud on your account is vital for the success of your business. However, it is not always as straight forward as it might, or advertisers would like it to be. Tell tale signs that your campaign may be the victim of click fraud could be:
Less business than you are accustomed to
Seeing less sign ups, or purchases despite spending the same amount of money on online advertising
High numbers of hits combined with low numbers of conversions
An IP address is a very useful tool in the fight to identify click fraud. By looking through a list of all the IP addresses that click on your advert, you can likely determine whether or not your visits are genuine. Unique visits will most likely be legitimate custom, while those from the same machine, or machines are an indicator of fraudulent activity on your campaign. While this is not preventative, as such, identification is a crucial first step to fighting back against click fraud.
Actually preventing click fraud
Unfortunately, owing to the difficulty of interpreting genuine clicks from fraudulent ones, it would be very time consuming, and not the most cost effective solution to analyze the IP address on every click on an ad. Manually trawling through pages of data and IP addresses, and searching for patterns was once the only way to combat click fraud but for those with the highest numbers of clicks, it is not a very practical solution.
Use Anti-Click Fraud Services
Fortunately, there exist several anti-click fraud services that advertisers can make use of. These are automated systems that crunch the numbers for you and block those IP addresses deemed to be fraudulent. Anti-click fraud services can considerably reduce your employee overheads, and save you money by eliminating dishonest clicks.
Features like the setting of thresholds on the number of times an IP address can follow an advertising link, and automatically blocking suspected click fraudsters make these services an invaluable tool for the online advertiser in the battle against unwanted clicks.
Ultimately, as an online advertiser, PPC click fraud will be costing you money, and so will attempting to battle it yourself manually. The most effective, easiest, and cheapest method is certainly using automated anti-click fraud services like the one we provide at ClickGuard.