Google Ads Tips
What Are Invalid Clicks in AdWords? How Google Detects Fraudsters
How much can you really rely on Google? The answer is; “Less than you think.”
Getting fraudulent clicks on your ads in no laughing matter.
With billions of dollars lost to fraudsters and criminals every single year, advertisers are trying everything they can to claw back their ad spend.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of software platforms & programs that will request automatic Google Ads refunds. Sold to the user as “fully automatic” and “a huge time saver”, users are often drawn in by its potential benefits. Little do they know that this feature alone could restrict them from claiming refunds altogether if mismanaged.
To make sure you’re aware of the dangers of using automatic Google Ads refunds, we’re taking a look at how such a feature could harm your future ability to file refund requests with Google.
So, before you let a robot manage your Google Ads refund requests, here’s what you should know.
There are plenty of reasons why automatic Google Ads refunds are a terrible idea. But instead of lecturing you on why you shouldn’t use it, here are some of the key points that will quickly change your mind.
If you’ve ever tried to request a refund from Google in the past, then you should know how few refunds they approve. No matter how much data you send them or what summary you give, the chances of them sending money back to your account are pretty slim.
From our internal testing over the past year, we can reveal that the chance of getting a refund off Google is currently ~20%, and of that 20% of refunds “approved”, only around 10-15% of the actual spend will be refunded. In short, this means an effective refund rate of just 2-2.5%. Of course, this number can vary depending on how much information you provide and the details around the refund request. But to put it into perspective for you, for every $1 of refund you claim, expect around 2 cents to be refunded.
The only way to increase your refund rate is to improve the data you send in your request and back up your claims with compelling evidence. The only way to do this is with manual investigative skills that robots simply don’t have. In fact, our internal research shows that manual refund requests have an approval rate of 30-35%, and of that around 55%-60% of disputed spend is refunded. To put that in perspective, for every $1 of refund you claim manually, expect around 15 cents to 18 cents to be refunded – up to 9x as much as automated refunds.
A major problem with automatic refunds requests is the fact that each report won’t be unique. Each request requires different data, evidence, and summaries to inform Google on what has happened and why you should be granted a refund. It requires a human touch to let Google know the finer details of why this spend is fraudulent.
To give you an example of the lengthy refund form Google requires users to fill out, take a look below
As you can see, there are plenty of different fields to fill out which can vary drastically depending on the scenario and type of fraud you have received. One of those fields is a text box that asks for a summary of the issue so Google can investigate your report. Note that Google refund requests are reviewed by real people at Google – not a machine!
If a robot is filling out this refund form for you, then it’s highly unlikely it will be writing unique and original text each time. Instead, it will be following some kind of template that it’s been told to follow.
If Google consistently receives refund requests from an account that provides little information about the issue, then they’re just going to start ignoring the requests. Not to mention if they’re receiving the same template over and over again it’s only a matter of time before they notice it’s an automated message. As soon as they realise this they’ll either spend little time looking at it or skip over it entirely.
Following on from the previous point, if you regularly send refund requests with vague summaries and details, then you reduce the chance someone at Google will pay attention to them.
But on the other hand, if you present a solid case with lots of evidence confirming the issue, then you’re much more likely to get a refund.
It’s like the story of the boy who cried wolf. If you keep telling Google you want a refund for fraud but provide them with generic data that they have to sift through, then eventually you’ll get ignored. Then the one time you have solid evidence about click fraud on your account, your request will get declined regardless due to your previous request history.
From our experience, only requesting a refund with compelling evidence and data is the best long-term strategy to get money back from Google. If you help them out by doing some investigative work, then you’ll notice a sharp increase in the number of approved refunds.
This point is the main reason we advise against not using automatic refund requests on your account. The constant barrage of refund requests to Google can actually end up causing more harm than good.
From working with thousands of clients from across the globe, we’ve heard plenty of horror stories about Google accounts being restricted.
This means that a specific account is not allowed to request refunds from Google due to their poor or frequent request history in the past. If you’re using an automated robot and send regular low-quality fraud reports, then it’s no surprise Google will restrict you.
Automatic Google Ads refunds do sound great to most users, but in reality, they can significantly increase the risk of having your account restricted – and they’re extremely ineffective with around 2% of spend ultimately being refunded.
The solution is to only request refunds from Google with compelling evidence to back up your claim. Requesting a refund with no evidence just for the sake of it is never going to end well. Instead, you need to make sure you send the right information to greatly improve your chances of being approved.
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