February 26, 2021 | 7 min reading time

If you’ve spent any amount of time in digital marketing, you’re bound to bump into click fraud problems. Have you ever been in a position where you suspected something wasn’t quite right with your ad campaigns, but you couldn’t put your finger on it? It just might be that click fraud is wasting away your ad budget, and  post-click analysis can help you get to the bottom of it.

Half the battle in the defense against click fraud is knowing how to spot it. The other half is knowing how to prevent it.

So, where is post click analysis in this entire landscape? Read on to find out more! 

What Is Post Click Analysis in Click Fraud Protection?

When it comes to PPC advertising, there are a few universal principles that every marketer gets familiar with, sooner or later. 

  • Google is an industry leader in digital marketing and PPC ad campaigns.
  • You need to set informed goals.
  • You need to monitor your ad campaigns on a regular basis.
  • You’re bound to run into problems with click fraud somewhere along the way.

Without a doubt, Google Ads is the top platform for PPC ad campaigns. You probably won’t find too many people that would even question that. 

As far as goal-setting and improving your ad campaign strategies go, that’s something you can always improve upon over time.  

But what about fraudulent clicks? It’s a pesky problem that can gnaw away at your frustration level as well as your ad budget. Click fraud can be a little like termites. They’re not always visible on the surface, and they can do a lot of damage behind the scenes before anyone pays any real attention.  

Unfortunately, no company is immune from click fraud — including yours! 

What’s the first step in fighting back against click fraud? Simply put, the solution is click forensics, also known as PPC forensics. Before your mind starts running away with visions of gathering evidence from the crime scene, click forensics is actually the science of analyzing click behavior. And you won’t even have to dust for fingerprints or label zip lock bags either. 

Seriously though, there’s a pretty big risk in not using PPC forensics. You could be losing as much as a third of your ad budget to click fraud. That’s something worth taking a closer look at under the magnifying glass. Being aware that something could be lurking around in your ad campaign is a good first step to solving the crime of click fraud. A good second step is using a data-driven click forensics program to help you ward off threats and rejoice in successful ad campaigns. 

So, you’re probably thinking okay, I’m ready to tackle click fraud, but what in the world is a post-click analysis? And, where do I go from here? 

Post-click analysis is a process where you gather details about the target audience that you’re attracting through your banner ads, mailing lists, and other marketing ad programs. By collecting data, you gain three very important things:

  1. You will be more easily able to spot click fraud, so you can do something about it.
  2. You can be sure you’re targeting the right audience.
  3. You can put all the data together and devise strategies for increasing conversions.  

Reasons Why Post Click Analysis Is the Best Option Against Fake Clicks

Yes, Google does some of the legwork of click forensics for you. While that’s pretty great, it’s not something I recommend marketers rely on 100% to spot and prevent click fraud. 

collecting data important in PPC

Here’s why:

  • The Google Ads platform doesn’t look at every possible data point when it looks for the origin of each click to see if it’s legit.
  • Invalid clicks don’t always get registered as fraudulent or invalid.
  • There are other things you can do on your end to catch the fraudulent clicks that Google misses.

So, what are those “other things” you can do to prevent click fraud? An easy thing you can do is to use click fraud software. Many vendors claim that they use machine learning and AI algorithms to catch click fraud early and stop it. 

But these vendors that claim that machine learning and  AI will do the job for you and don't provide a paper trail are plain and simply lying. What you have to remember is that the whole goal of machine learning and AI is to get the right data and turn it into insight. Therefore, you need good data for machine learning to start identifying click fraud.

Unless you truly understand how algorithms and machine learning work, it’s all pretty complicated stuff. You also need to be aware that all click fraud software isn’t created equally. Depending on which click fraud protection vendor you choose, you may have good results with click fraud software — and maybe not. 

How do you decide which click fraud software program largely has to do with your trust level. There’s a common political idiom that says, “Trust, but verify.” Essentially, you have two choices when you’re considering click fraud software:

  1. Put blind faith in the vendor’s claims.
  2. Inquire about how the click fraud software works and ask for proof. 

The question you need to ask yourself as you narrow down your click fraud software options is simply this, “Can I trust the results?” The only way that you can answer that question without hesitation is to get assurance that the click fraud vendor will be transparent with your ad campaign results. 

To answer the question we just asked, you’ll want to know whether your chosen click fraud software vendor can provide you with transparent data that clearly demonstrates the software is actually identifying and preventing fraudulent clicks. It’s truly the only way that you can know whether you’re getting your money’s worth. 

To give you an example of how to evaluate a good click fraud software product, we’ve outlined 7 questions to help you evaluate click fraud software that you might be considering.

  1. Does it have a click segment that will give you insight into the behavior of each user?
  1. Does it have a platform segment where you can get data about browser fingerprints and data about the type of the user’s device?
  1. Does it have a target segment that tracks an important data point called the GCLID (Google click identifier) and gives you landing page information as well? 
  1. Does it have an ad information segment where you can find the attributes of each click in the context of the campaign? 
  1. Does it have a visitor section where you can find data about the IP address and the device that the user is using? 
  1. Does it have a threat segment where you can check out the risk of your clicks? 
  1. Does it have a Geo segment that tells you what location clicks are coming from? (Clicks that fall outside your target market area are a big red flag)

Overall, click forensics is amazing technology. It’s something an expert marketer can spend days working on if they really wanted to. What’s the downside you ask? If you’re trying to do it manually, and you really want to do it well  —  well, it can take up hours of your time. The question you have to ask yourself is how much time do you really want to invest in manual strategies for preventing click fraud when you could be working on improving your ad campaign strategies?

We have to admit, learning more about click forensics won’t make you the coolest guy on the block. But hey, why not save yourself the time and trouble of addressing click fraud prevention by considering the value of click fraud prevention software by ClickGUARD? Our click fraud prevention experts are happy to help you learn more about click forensics and all the great data you can use to protect your ad campaigns. ClickGUARD takes hours of time off your hands, freeing you up to help you reach your goals. What’s more, it will positively drive ad campaign performance, and that’s the whole goal, right?

Jason is the CMO @ ClickGUARD. He is passionate about all things PPC, SEO and has extensive customer acquisition experience. When not writing about SEM he can be found surfing the wildest ocean waves of the South American coast.