Does Click Fraud Detection Work? How AI Is Helping To Detect Fraudsters
More clicks might seem like more sales, but being unable to detect the fraudulent clicks costs companies millions!
If you own a business, then you should know how important it is to have a solid advertising strategy. No matter if you’re a brand-new business or a well-established large enterprise, without advertising, there’s no way you’ll grow.
Ever since the growth of the internet back in the early 2000’s, online advertising has become the go-to place for many businesses. With the introduction of search engines and paid advertising, businesses now have more choice than ever when it comes to online advertising. However, there is one platform that is most certainly the biggest and stands out from the rest: Google Ads.
With its vast reach and precise targeting abilities, Google Ads is a powerful tool for every business looking to increase their online exposure. The chances are if you have an established business then you’ve probably already heard of or used this platform previously. Yet for newer businesses, advertising on Google can seem tricky and scary. Especially when there is so much money at risk.
No matter if you’re a first-timer or very experienced at online advertising, knowing how to advertise on Google is essential. To help you improve your current results, we’re taking a look at the top strategies and techniques you should be using to boost your return on investment.
We’ll show you how to get started and set up to advertise on Google, as well as the things you can be doing to improve your advertising success. To make sure everyone’s on the same page, let’s take a quick refresher on how Google advertising works.
Understanding how Google Ads works is relatively straightforward. Advertisers bid against each other in order to display their ads on Google’s search engine. The more an advertiser bids for a keyword, the higher their ad will appear. Since usually, the first ad gets the most clicks and traffic, everyone wants to be number 1.
However, you can still receive a good amount of clicks and traffic even if you’re not number 1. A lot of your click-through rate and traffic will depend on how well you write your ad which we’ll cover later. However, it’s important to know you don’t have to be number 1 to get good results.
For every click you receive on your advert, you pay Google for their service. This price can be anything from a few cents or pence per click all the way up to some big bucks. The rate you actually end up paying for your click depends on a range of different factors.
The first significant cost per click factor is the level of competition for that keyword or industry. Running a PPC ad campaign in the insurance industry will cost a lot more per click than say local garden centres. When there’s a high average profit per sale, there will usually be lots of competition. With so many people bidding on the same keyword all trying to get number 1, it’s only natural for the cost per click price to increase.
Another important factor that can affect your cost per click is your quality score. The quality score metric is Google’s way of rewarding advertisers who follow their guidelines and punishing those who don’t. A high-quality score is beneficial for advertisers as it lowers their average cost per click by up to 50%. However, if you don’t follow Google’s guidelines and get a low-quality score, then your average cost per click could be increased by 400%! Making sure you optimise your adverts and improve your quality score is an essential task if you want to get the most out of your budget.
Now you’ve got a clear understanding of how Google Ads works, how exactly do you advertise on it? If you’ve already run an advert before then you’ll probably want to skip this section, however, if it’s your first time then pay close attention.
The first stage in any PPC campaign is to find the keyword / keywords that you want to target. This is arguably one of the most important steps. Get the keywords wrong and you’ll end up with terrible results and nothing to show for it. Pick the right keywords and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank with your stacks of cash.
Next up is configuring the advert and deciding what areas and locations to target. This is where some of Google’s other features such as their display network come into play. Although it’s not for everyone, the display network can be a convenient tool for exposure and re-marketing.
Once you’ve got your target keywords and locations all in check, it’s time to start actually writing your ad. This means optimising your advert to ensure it includes your target keyword and gives you the best quality score possible.
Finally, the last stage of the process is reviewing your ads and monitoring their progress. This means checking up and how well they are performing and if they need any tweaks. One of the biggest secrets of successful campaign managers is that they are always tweaking their ads. If you want the best results from advertising on Google, then this step is just as important as the others.
Now you understand the basic outline of how to advertise on Google, it’s time to jump straight into the keyword research process.
When it comes to finding profitable PPC keywords, there are 2 main ways to do it. Either you find your own keywords from scratch, which involves lots of time-consuming research, or you steal them from your competitors! Obviously, the choice is up to you, and there’s really no right or wrong answer, the only thing that matters is you get lots of quality keywords.
To find profitable keywords yourself you can use the free Google Keywords Planner tool that most people are familiar with. Simply enter your primary keyword, and it will return a huge list of similar keywords you can target. If you happen to have an Ahrefs or SEMRush account on hand, then you can also take advantage of them by using their keyword research tools.
The important thing to look for when selecting keywords is the actual intent of the user and what they are actually searching for. Keywords with buyer intent often convert much better than general keywords in the same niche. For example, keywords such as buy TVs, cheap 4k TVs or Samsung TV reviews are much likely to attract higher quality traffic than just general keywords such as TVs and televisions. Understanding this subtle difference between people looking to buy TVs and people looking for information about them, is what will help make your campaign successful.
If you don’t have the time, patience or experience to find quality keywords, then luckily there is another way. There’s a very good chance that your competitors will already be running PPC ads and therefore will have already done the research for you. This means you can simply copy the keywords they are using and replace them with your own ads! As simple as this might sound, you will need the right tools to be able to view their ads. One of the best tools for doing this is SpyFu.com. Just type in your competitor’s website and the software will return all the keywords they are running ads on and their average cost per click. Having this information will give you a good idea of which keywords to target and which to avoid. Once you’ve found some good candidates, it’s time to move onto the next step.
One of the many challenges advertisers face when learning how to advertise on Google is if they should use the display network or not. With the benefits of a wider audience reach, lower costs per click and the ability to have animated and visual ads, it can often seem tempting to add it to your campaign. However, unless you’re using the display network solely for remarketing, we suggest avoiding it at all costs.
The main reason we suggest this is that ads on the display network receive a much higher rate of fraud compared to ads on the search network. This means if you use the display network often for its cheap clicks and exposure, then you could actually be throwing away your hard-earned cash.
Unlike the Google search ads, third-party websites who display Google ads on their website receive a cut of the advertising commission from Google. This means that certain websites often take advantage of this and purposely click their own ads in order to increase their earnings. As an advertiser, this is obviously bad news. Compare this to the standard Google search ads and users don’t have as big of an incentive to click them. If you want to make every click count on your PPC campaign, then sticking to the search network is the best choice.
Next up it’s time to decide where you want your ads to be displayed. This might sound a little unnecessary for some campaigns, but you’d be surprised how many people target too many locations. If you’re a physical shop that sells physical goods, then only target the places you actually ship to. You might be tempted to venture outside of your standard delivery area, but if you’ve never shipped aboard before then you can quickly run into problems. Considering the amount of traffic and sales Google Ads can bring in such a short amount of time, making sure you target only the most profitable locations is essential.
Once you’ve got your target keywords and locations all ready, it’s time for one of the most important parts of your campaign, writing the ad itself. The writing and content of the ad can have a huge effect on its click-through rate and overall success. Making sure your ad is gripping and persuasive is just some of the many things you need to include for a successful ad.
To get you started, your adverts should be informative with a strong call to action. Informing users about your product or service is one thing, but getting them to sign up or buy is something else. By telling users to take action and seize the opportunity, you’re much more likely to get conversions than being passive. Some users spend so much time reading ads and descriptions that they often forget to actually click the ad and follow through.
As a rule of thumb, your advert should include the target keyword in the main heading as well as in the description. Not only does this make the advert more relevant to the user, but it also helps increase your quality score. For those that don’t know, a higher quality score is always better. Not only does it mean higher rankings, but it also means lower costs per click. As an advertiser, both of these are immensely beneficial to your campaign.
In addition to including the target keyword in your header and description, it’s also important to include it on your landing page. The landing page is the the web page the user will be redirected to when they click your ad. For the highest quality score and cheapest clicks, it’s best to optimise your landing page for your target keyword. It might not seem like a big deal, but if you want to improve your ROI then it’s a necessary step you have to take.
You might have thought that was the last step of how to advertise on Google, but you’d be wrong. Unfortunately, to the dismay of some advertisers, there is no final step of advertising on Google as it’s a continuous process. From the initial keyword research to writing the ad, campaigns change all the time and often require updating as time goes by.
After setting up your campaign for the first time, there’s really no knowing how well (or bad) it will perform until you start to get some data about it. This means you’ll have to keep your ad running for a few weeks in order to generate enough statistics. After a certain amount of time, you’ll be able to analyse the numbers and decide which keywords are worth keeping and which are worth dropping.
You won’t necessarily be dropping the ones with the least clicks, but in fact, the ones with the lowest conversion rate. With old keywords being taken out of your campaign you’ll also be looking at including new keywords to make your campaign even more efficient. This means doing the opposite of what you initially did to obtain the keywords. If you copied them from your competitors then try researching some of your own. If you researched some of your own, then try copying your competitors. The bottom line is: use whatever method you think is the best to come up with a list of new keyword you can try. This is the process every major agency uses when advertising on Google, so you should be using it too!
Since Google isn’t the only online advertising platform around, it’s likely that you’ll also be looking at similar platforms such as Facebook ads. Even though both platforms are reasonably similar in the way they work, they both have their own differences which set them apart.
For those of you that don’t use Facebook, understanding how it displays adverts might be confusing. However, to simplify it for you, Facebook places adverts in user’s newsfeeds which seamlessly blend into updates from their friends and other contacts. With a range of targeting options available similar to Google Ads, advertisers can specify certain countries, interests and behaviours to optimise their campaigns. However, in the past Facebook has been under fire for providing false claims on the number of people they can reach. So remember to always keep that in mind when trying to work out your audience reach.
According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook claimed that its audience reach in the US was actually much larger than the census figures. Researcher Brian Wieser found that Facebook’s ad tool claimed to reach an audience of 41 million 18 – 24-year-olds in the US. Comparing this to the most recent population estimate data at the time, the data only indicated 31 million people of that age group. That’s a difference of around 10 million! Obviously, this is not good news for advertisers, with the numbers being so wrong who knows what else they could be overestimating. Even though it’s not the end of the world, it’s still something to keep in mind if you decide to use Facebook ads, not everything is as it seems.
To compare the two platforms even more, here’s an interesting infographic from the guys over at Wishpond showing the main difference between Google ads and Facebook ads. Be sure to keep these points in mind when deciding which network to advertise on.
As you can see, not only does Google reach 90% of all internet users, but it also allows advertisers to target users using keywords. This means you can efficiently target users certain for keywords with buyer intent which greatly increase their chances of converting. In addition to this, the infographic also shows that although Google may have a higher cost per click, it makes up for it with its higher CTR and conversion rate.
In our eyes, Google Ads is the clear winner due to its range of targeting options, broader reach and instant results.
Regardless if you’ve been advertising online for a while or you’ve just set up your first campaign, every advertiser wants to improve their ROI. Whether it’s re-writing adverts, improving your quality score, or removing unprofitable keywords, everyone has their own way.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your Google Ads budget, then you need to stop it from going to waste. Currently, around 25% of all PPC clicks are fraudulent. This means around every 1 in 4 clicks are losing you money to automated click bots, competitors and fraud rings. The worst part is, you probably didn’t even notice.
Since 2009 click fraud has been steadily on the rise with more and more advertisers falling victim to it every year. Not only does click fraud waste your precious money and increase your cost per conversion, but it also ruins your marketing data. How do you know which keywords are profitable and which aren’t when your data is full of fake clicks? Not only does this make managing Google campaigns hard, but almost impossible. The only way to solve this problem, is with click fraud protection.
PPC Protect is a state of the art tool designed to protect your vulnerable ads from fraudsters 24 hours a day. With the installation process only taking a few clicks, you can start saving money in just a few minutes. To see how much you can save on your Google Ads campaigns, sign up to our free 30-day trial below.