What Is Google Ads Click Fraud And How Do You Prevent It?

Nov 28, 2018

The main purpose of marketing campaigns – be it digital or traditional, is to get more and more people to support your business. One of the best ways to market your products, in our opinion, is via Google Ads. It’s simple and effective, but it’s not without its challenges as well.

Everyone can click on your ad once it appears on SERPs via Google Ads. Everyone, including your competitors. As dirty a tactic as it may be, your competitors aren’t technically breaking any rules by clicking on your ads so that your spending for it increases without any profit.

Before we talk about how you can prevent this from happening, let’s first talk about Google Ads first and how it works.

What Are Google Ads?

Previously known as Google Adwords, Google Ads is a PPC-type marketing platform released by Google. Basically, your products or ad listing will appear on top of the Google SERP if people make specific queries. It offers your audience direct links to your products that they may need eventually.

For example, you are selling a line of leather handbags in Brisbane. If people search for Brisbane leather handbags and you pay for an ad in Google Ads, they’ll be able to see your product immediately, thus increasing the chances of making a sale.

The platform uses an auction system that happens every time a person makes a keyword search. To have your ad “win” the auction, it has to have a good Quality Score and a bid amount. Bid amount refers to the amount you are willing to pay for the ad.

On the other hand, Quality Score refers to factors that determine how good your Google Ad is. Some factors include the ad’s relevance to the search query, ad group, and the keyword search’s landing page. Higher Quality Score also means lower costs and higher exposure for your ad.

Winning the big can be challenging. However, it’s something that Constant Clicks are experts at. You don’t need to worry too much about having your ad pass the standards of Google Ads, and you just have to sit back, relax, and let the clicks go.

Google Ads works in a way that you are only charged once your ad goes through the platform. Still, it’s worth making sure that you get the most out of your ad every time it wins the auction.

As you can see, running a Google Ad campaign requires a lot of effort, and it can also be competitive. As such, you’d want to make sure that your effort is worth it by having only your customers click on your link. Now let’s move on to the topic at hand, preventing your competitors from clicking your links.

Preventing Unwanted Clicks

prevent unwanted clicks

The main problem when your competitors click on your ad is that they won’t be making a purchase in the first place. That means they are spending your ad budget without giving you any sales or profit in return. Sadly, this kind of dirty tactic is relatively common, especially in fierce industries.

This practice is called click fraud. It’s basically your competitors stealing your ad budget. Google has said before that they are cracking down on invalid clicks. They are taking it seriously and that they have an automatic detection system that helps prevent cases like these from happening.

Despite its best efforts, however, Google doesn’t manage to prevent all cases of click fraud. Those few instances where the click goes through are what you want to avoid. In many cases, those committing click fraud aren’t punished in any way, and it’s only you getting the short end of the stick.

Google is at their best once the offenders become repeat violators. By then, the competition has already wasted a lot of your ad spend, and there’s no way for you to get it back. Let’s say the competitor clicks on your ad five times a day. Google will only filter out maybe 2 or 3 of these clicks.

The next day, the same fraudsters will return to once again cheat the system and waste your money. Instead of relying solely on Google’s fraud detection system, we at Constant Clicks choose to be thorough and active.

Click frauds are typically done in one of two ways. First is what we’ve just talked about, which is a manual way to commit the scam. Other business owners in your industry are going to try and find your ads just to click on them. It doesn’t take much of their time to do so, after all. If your ad campaign is good, then your ad will show up almost instantly.

There are some click frauds that are also initiated by machines instead of humans. A majority of click frauds are initiated by machines.

There are many downsides to click fraud aside from the fact that you are losing money. Other negative effects include:

  • Loss of advertiser trust – Even if it’s not your fault that you are getting click fraud, there’s a chance that Google will have lesser trust in you as a publisher. This means your ads will have lesser chances of winning bids.
    Decreased conversion – Your conversion rates are definitely going to take a hit because of click fraud. The more ad clicks that don’t result in conversion, the worst it’s going to be for your ad campaign.
  • Inaccurate data – Ad campaigns can be adjusted based on the date that is generated by your target audience. However, you’ll have less and less accurate data on your hands if some of the data that is generated comes from click fraud. This might seem like a minor problem but if your ad campaign relies on analytics, then it’s definitely a bad side effect.
  • Higher CPC – As more clicks are being generated by your website, your cost per click or CPC is going to increase heavily as well.

One of the ways you can prevent these fraudulent clicks is by programming your ads with click fraud detection. When using this technology, we record and track the IP addresses, locations, and other data that could be useful in detecting fraud. By taking steps into our own hands, we’ll be able to actively prevent these things from happening.

Once the same IPs target your ads, then we’ll be notified via email. We can then blacklist their IP address so that when they search for your ad, they won’t be able to see – let alone click it. It’s an effective way to prevent fraudulent clicks, and it’s a method that we have been using for years.

Each Google Ad campaign can blacklist up to 500 IPs. That means if a competitor is really out to get you, they’ll have to use 500 different IPs just to harm your Google Ads campaign.

The good news for you is that there are more ways than one to start protecting yourself from click fraud. As this is such a common occurrence in the Google Ads space, there has been a collective effort to prevent these problems as much as possible.

  • Use various tools to your advantage – You can manually take steps to prevent competitors from stealing your ad budget. Use tools like ISPionage and SEMrush to help determine which IPs are wasting your budget. You’d want to look out for IPs that constantly click on your links without making any transactions. This will help you avoid accidentally blacklisting your potential customers.
  • Target Specific Countries – Be very observant of the click frauds you are getting. For instance, if the clicks are coming from a specific country, an effective and quick way to get rid of click fraud is by blocking your content from those countries. Just make sure that you don’t have customers from those areas, and you’ll be fine.
  • Be Hands-On – Although Google Ads automatically runs your campaign for you, that doesn’t mean you should just let the platform run on its own. Always be hands-on with your campaigns. Check your analytics regularly and check for any potential click fraud.

Bottomline

click fraud

In some cases, you’ll notice that your ads are not performing well. There could be many factors as to why this is so, and sadly, one of them is the fact that your competitors are trying to screw you over. We understand just how frustrating it can be to have your money wasted.

We’ll do our best not just to ensure a good marketing campaign but also one that’s foolproof from those that try to cheat our system. Although our methods to prevent fraudulent clicks are effective already, we’re still constantly looking for means to continue increasing the protection we provide you.

You shouldn’t have to worry about fraudulent clicks for your Google Ads. Frustrating as they may be, such problems aren’t permanent. With the expert help of Constant Clicks, you’ll be able to guarantee that each money you spend on your ads is going to the right person.

Talk to us today about implementing click fraud protection to your Google Ads campaigns and watch your sales soar.

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