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Is Click Fraud Really A Problem?
If you use pay per click advertising for your marketing campaigns, then you should be aware of click fraud and its consequences.
With online marketing generating billions of dollars in revenue for both advertisers and publishers, it was only a matter of time until somebody started abusing the system.
This fraudulent abuse of pay per click advertising costs companies billions of dollars a year and almost no one is immune from it.
So, what exactly is click fraud and why do people do it?
What Is Click Fraud?
Click fraud, simply put, is the fraudulent clicking of pay per click ads when the user has no intention of ever buying. In fact, most of the time these fraudulent clicks will be from competitors who are also running a pay per click campaign on the same keyword.
By clicking on a competitor’s ad, the other company will be forced to pay for it whether they make a sale or not.
Why People Do It
There are numerous reasons why people participate in click fraud, and they can be grouped into 2 main categories, advertisers, and publishers.
Since the pay per click industry is very competitive, it’s only natural that advertisers try to sabotage their competition by fraudulently clicking on their ads. Most companies will do anything to give themselves a competitive advantage.
Not only does this mess with their competitors advertising statistics, but it also makes them pay for visits from people who never had any intention of buying from them.
This causes competitors pay per click budgets to run out faster and stops genuine visitors from visiting their website. Not only does this make the company waste large sums of money on fraudulent clicks but it also increases the average cost to capture a lead.
These might sound like dirty tricks, but when it’s the difference between a visitor visiting your website or your competitors, many companies will do whatever it takes to steal visitors.
However, it’s not just competitors that are to blame.
In pay per click marketing, every time a user clicks an advert the publisher gets paid for displaying the advert on their website. For many websites, this is their primary source of income, and they rely on users to click their ads.
Some website owners encourage users to click on these ads multiple times to “support the website”. Of course, this is entirely against the terms and conditions of many pay per click networks such as Google Adwords, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it!
An easier way for the website owner to make more money is just to click the adverts themselves to increase their ad revenue. Just like competitors clicking on the ads, none of these visitors have any intention of buying and the money is wasted.
So how do these fraudulent clicks happen in the first place? Surely it can’t be people sat there clicking ads all day?
Well, you’d be surprised…
The first and easiest way for companies to engage in click fraud is to just Google their competitors and click their ads every day. This might be a low-tech method, but it definitely gets the job done.
Bots and Malware
The second technique many people use is in the form of robots and malware. Instead of paying someone to click the same ad over and over again, it’s a lot cheaper to get a robot to do it. Not only do they do it for free but they can click hundreds if not thousands of them simultaneously.
Good news for the company, bad news for their competition.
The last method is by far the most cunning. Some people will go to such extreme lengths that they will actually use other people’s computers, without them knowing, to click ads. By installing malware on other people’s computers, these individuals can force people to click ads and rack up bills for their competitors or ad revenue for themselves.
How Can You Stop It?
Now we’ve covered the underground world of click fraud and the damage it could be doing to your business, how exactly can you fight back?
Here at PPC Protect we have all the tools you need to defend yourself from malicious bots and unethical competitors. With set up taking as little as 2 minutes it only takes a moment to reap the benefits.
Click here to see how we can help make your PPC budget last longer and improve your marketing results.