When I speak with advertisers who are debating whether to explore paid search, one of the biggest sources of hesitation is click fraud. That said, fearfulness of click fraud is no reason to avoid PPC altogether. Click fraud is a black-hat technique of falsely inflating the number of clicks on a pay-per-click ad. Click fraud is usually driven by one of two incentives:. For years, search engines have been getting a lot of flak for not going the extra mile to identify and quash click fraud.
This suspicion is not unwarranted. Google has created, by far, the most robust anti-click fraud program. Their system of detection uses a three pronged approach that starts with automated filters. Advanced algorithms detect and filter out invalid clicks in real time, before advertisers are even charged.
Welp, before you launch into a full-on bout of paranoia, let me reassure you that there is a TON you can do to identify whether you are a victim of click fraud! Evan explained that, depending on the time and resources you can commit to monitoring click fraud, you can approach the problem one of two ways: Firstly, you will need internal reporting.
Internal reporting would tell you if that lead became a sale. Knowing this information can help you adjust your bidding to favor terms that are more likely to result in a sale. The necessity for the IP address is pretty self-explanatory, but why do you need the other three? Click timestamp and action timestamp should be used together because you want to see the IP addresses which are arriving at your site by clicking on an ad, but not converting or rarely converting.
The click timestamp is the time when someone arrives on your site after clicking an ad. The action timestamp is the time when that person completed an action on your site. If you see an IP address with a bunch of click timestamps but no action timestamps, then that is likely click fraud. Lastly, user agent really is useful for identifying whether someone on a particular IP is the same person.
It takes note about all the features of the device being used to access your site such as type of computer or device, internet browser, software, and more. Once you discover a potentially fraudulent IP address, you should always perform a quick check of the IP on a site to see who it belongs to. One thing to keep an eye out for is proxy servers. Doing some research on your IP can help you discern whether this is the case.
If the search queries are similar and are occurring over a super short time period, the clicks are probably fraudulent. Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands. So, now I turn to you, my fellow click-fraud victims, what clever tactics have you employed to eradicate malicious clicks in your accounts?
Visit the AdWords Grader. Thanks for the info. Again, is there a way i can request Google to check my account specifically because in have identified some click fraud?
Thanks for commenting, Jithin! Yes, you can report click fraud to Google through a number of their support channels listed here: Best of luck to you! This one is really a good piece of writing buddy. This will help many people to gain knowledge.
We've been using Clixtell click fraud protection tool and its great. They have a defense mode that works like a charm and literally saved us thousands. You actually have to fill out this report: Hi Erin, Thanks for this article, it makes a lot of sense but now days many fraudsters use different tactics to avoid detection. When it comes to stop attackers that use VPN and proxie softwares i'd recommend to use a 3rd party click-fraud protection services like Clickcease. These services even offer to automatically add the IPs to the exclusion list so the attacker can't keep clicking your ads.
I couldn't find a better way to stop click-fraud these days. Thanks for such a concise yet descriptive rundown on click fraud. There are now inexpensive professional options for small to medium businesses to use which will significantly decrease click fraud for a nominal monthly fee. Thanks Josh, I tried out Clickcease, after a competitor was draining my ad budget.
Before I used clickcease I had to manually look for the fraudulent IP's, and that was completely useless, now it all gets blocked automatically and my campaigns are back to be profitable again.
Thanks again for the recommendation. If you are using google Adwords you can use clickfrauds. I'd not looked into twitter yet, but will now. Facebook may have similar issues of its own.
Stopped all add with them for now as the traffic was not looking perform as expected and seemed suspicious. I may give another try as I have leveraged a new fairly realtime visitor tracker called slim stat for wordpress sites which I can check IP addresses with.
What I do like about adwords is that I can target specific location, zipcode etc and "should" get visitors from that area only. Actually, Facebook is just as bad. All FB ad traffic we get is very low quality, all mobile users and have high bounce rates.
Some bounce so fast that the clicksdont even show up in our tracking software - even though FB is charging. We made some sophisticated testing of user actions and find that the users are all fake. The worst is Instagram ads. Mind you no hashtags were used - so it cannot be the normal instagram robot spam. I have to agree to with Whitk about facebook. I have spent an enormous amount of money with FB ads and got nothing in return.
We absolutely crush it on Facebook marketing.. It's wonderful that you are getting thoughts from this paragraph as well as from our dialogue made at this place. Clickcease does help a bit but what is really needed is an exclusion tool that can exclude ranges of IPs but then remove them from an exclusion list very quickly because if you block ranges, you block whole areas covered by a mobile provider.
Anyone know of anything to combat this? Hi Joshua, I've been using ClickCease myself and they've recently added a feature that allows me to determine the time periods I would like either a specific IP or an IP range to be blocked for. It really is a very useful tool. I have the same problem, my competitors are clicking on my ads by changing their ips and google cant filters it as invalid click.. We've been using campaignprotection. The only problem is that Google only gives you IPs to ban for each campaign.
We generated so many bad IPs that the program became useless after we reached the max in Google. Its not a real good article. Since years click fraudulents use proxylists with 10, or proxyservers to click on ads automatically. This can not be detected in the way written above. Faith in Google AdWords restored. So happy they have such a robust system in place to prevent click fraud.
I thought I had to manually take care of this myself. Josh and Jake, thank you for mentioning Clickcease. I am looking at the new Siphon product recommended by the guys at OMG; but if Clickcease is better then I am open to that.
Any comparisons that you have found which compare the 2 services, or any others which are considered to be trustworthy and cost-effective? Thanks for your thoughts! ClickCease and Siphon seem to be different solutions. I have never worked with siphen but from their website I see that clickCease is the only tool that actually block the offenders in real-time. We use this exclusion list as we've determined that most of our fraudulent clicks come from here.
A little warning, this list excludes billions of IP4 addresses. Amazon, Cloudflare, and MS Azure are to name a few. We keep a page on our site that is dedicated to keeping a click fraud list.
Is there any scope for recovery? Kindly suggest me best practices to keep such issues intact. Google will never solution because they lose money and I am sure they will try to block other for finding solutions. We've been a victim of click fraud and I for one can tell you that you don't always get the refund you're expecting.
The problem seems to be under control for now. Ben thanks for the list but it does seem a little exhaustive. I would worry myself that I was blocking too many potential customers by blocking such a wide range of IP addresses.
Google really need to do more to combat this. We use PPC Protect now ppcprotect. I read your article and got clear understanding about click fraud or adwords click fraud, I would like to say thanks a lot for sharing this great article online.
It's by no means a fix for invalid activity, but I wrote an AdWords script to pause campaigns that are getting unusually high levels of attention from invalid clicks.
It also sends out an email to the user to show that certain campaigns have been paused.More...