What Is Ad Fraud In Digital Marketing?
If you run online ads then you should have an extensive understanding of Ad Fraud. If not, you’ve got to read on.
Pay per click advertising is fantastic for targeting relevant keywords to your business and attracting visitors who are very likely to convert. The problem is sometimes the cost per click on these keywords can be very high.
However, that’s just one of the problems.
With hundreds if not thousands of businesses competing for the same keywords, it’s only a matter of time until you experience click fraud. In fact, the more keywords you target, the more likely you are to experience it.
Currently, click fraud is expected to cost the advertising industry around $7.2 billion USD in 2016 alone; it’s clearly a huge problem for advertisers, and almost no one is immune from it.
Luckily there are some ways in which you can protect your adverts and stop competitors from wasting your PPC budget. With that in mind, let’s explore how you can protect yourself from fraudulent clicks.
As you may know, when using pay per click advertising you are charged per user that clicks on your advert. Depending on the keyword you are targeting this can typically be anything from a few pence to a few pounds.
Unfortunately, some not so ethical businesses out there understand how PPC works and fraudulently click on their competitor’s adverts in order to waste their advertising budget. They may use masking techniques such as no log VPNs to try and hide their true identities.
Every time a business clicks a competitor’s advert the competitor is charged for the visit when the visitor has no intention of ever buying their product. This is commonly known as click fraud and if nothing is done about it an entire companies PPC budget can disappear without a genuine visitor ever visiting their site.
With click fraud on the rise, it was only a matter of time until PPC networks did something to combat it. Google currently owns the largest PPC network in the world and serves billions of impressions to adverts every single day.
Google has recently implemented a very sophisticated system into their network that monitors fraudulent clicks and impressions on all their user’s accounts. With this system, when Google determines that a click is fraudulent or “invalid” they will automatically filter them from your account and not charge you for them.
Although the system is not perfect, it’s still better than nothing!
The problem with the system is that it mainly targets automated robots that are easily identifiable based on their IP address and behaviour. When a person starts to fraudulently click the adverts manually the system can get confused and count them as legitimate visitors.
To solve this problem, Google allows users to manually block certain IP addresses from clicking ads which if used correctly can stop competitors from wasting your PPC budget.
To block specific users in Google Adwords it’s relatively simple. The first step is to identify the offending user who keeps clicking on your ads but never converts. The most likely reason why they keep doing this day after day is to waste your PPC budget.
Unfortunately for whatever reason, Adwords doesn’t show you the IP address of people who click your ads for privacy reasons so you’ll need to do some detective work to find their IP.
The easiest way to do this is to check your website’s activity log which tracks all the users that visit your site. Make sure you’re checking the same website which is the landing page for the advert, and you should see a list of numbers.
If you’re using WordPress on your website, then a useful plugin is WordFence. This plugin gives you detailed information about all the users who visit your site and can be very helpful in tracking recurring offenders.
From looking at the activity logs you will be able to identify which users are being passed through Google Adwords to your website. To identify these IP addresses be sure to check the “referrer” and make sure they are coming from Adwords. The last thing you want to do is block a regular visitor coming from Google search.
Once you have found the suspicious IP addresses that are being referred to your website via Adwords on a regular basis it’s time to block them.
Google themselves have a very helpful Adwords support section which will guide you through how to exclude certain IP addresses from your Adwords campaign. Once you enter the IP addresses and click save, those users won’t be able to see your ads anymore.
Although this method works, it can be a bit tedious and requires you to constantly update and check the IP addresses.
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PPC Protect was specifically built for advertisers who are sick of seeing their PPC budget go to waste. With the ability to automatically identify recurring offenders and block them from seeing your adverts you’ll be amazed at how much longer your PPC budgets last.
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