How to Prevent Pay-Per-Click Fraud on Your Website Advertising
Article by John Cyril Yee
Graphics Design by Ryan Rivera
What is a Pay-Per-Click Campaign?
Pay-Per-Click, or PPC, is a digital marketing practice of driving traffic to your website. There are various types of PPC campaigns that utilise Google Ads, display ads, social media ads, among others.
As the name suggests, a business that engages in PPC advertising is charged every time a user clicks on their ad. It is an efficient and effective paid advertising method because it can propel a website to the top of the search results while targeting a specific market.
However, despite the proven effectiveness of a PPC campaign, most people are unaware that it also poses the risk of exploitation from competitors, publishers, or even consumers that can render the paid advertising campaign useless.
In the lifespan of most PPC campaigns, brands may encounter a high number of clicks that never convert into enquiries or customers. In such cases, it is highly likely the business has become a victim of Click Fraud.
What is Click Fraud?
Click Fraud happens when a person or business repeatedly clicks a pay-per-click ad to generate fraudulent charges for the advertiser. Businesses that commit this act may be using automatic click fraud, manual click fraud, or both. Automatic click fraud refers to using a software that constantly clicks your ad. Manual click fraud, on the other hand, usually involves a click farm where many people physically click the ad fraudulently using different IP addresses.
Due to strong competition for certain keywords, unethical businesses exploit the PPC mechanism causing their competitors to shell out thousands in advertising with minimal results. These businesses continue to operate without getting caught because they hide by using virtual private networks.
Unfortunately, many still exist in the online sphere. In fact, in 2016, click fraud had cost the advertising industry around $7.2B. And in 2017, research has shown that about 1 in every 5 clicks are recorded as fake, with the numbers continuing to grow.
Let’s look at the key indicators to help you discern if your business is a victim of click fraud.
3 Key Signs and Harmful Effects of Click Fraud
1. Abnormally High Click-Through Rate
When you set up a PPC campaign on Google Ads, or on any platform for that matter, it’s important that you regularly monitor user behaviour and stay updated with current figures. A high amount of click-through rate (CTR) can be flattering at first, but when you realise that they all come from the same or similar IP addresses, then it’s a firm indicator that suspicious activity is happening to your ads.
Regular monitoring of PPC analytics requires sharp observation skills in order to identify if the positive results you’re seeing are legitimate or from top-down. Once you notice an otherwise doubtful statistic, it’s best to conduct a prompt investigation to prevent any harmful activities from getting worse.
Found this article useful? Before reading on, don’t miss out on other related articles:
2. Increasing Ad Spend
If most of your ad budget has already been spent ahead of your PPC campaign’s timeline, chances are competitors are deliberately draining your money with click fraud. Once this occurs, it would be ideal to hit pause on your ads and examine why your money was so quickly exhausted. Advertising expenses can be substantial especially for small to medium-sized enterprises. It is crucial to watch the numbers that stem from your adverts to ensure your advertising budget is not being squandered.
One way to ensure this is to establish and adhere to a short timeline so that possible attackers will have a smaller window of opportunity in damaging your campaigns. You can also safeguard your PPC ad spend, however long it may be, by engaging a trusted web development agency that can easily protect you from pay-per-click fraud.
3. Low conversion rate
When reviewing your click data, it’s important to also examine if the spike in your PPC impressions also resulted in an acceptable number of conversions.
At times, malicious entities that are dedicated to performing click fraud would get a click farm so that the victim can’t easily track if the clicks are coming from the same IP address. As such, it’s important to ask: Did the people who clicked your ad also visit your page? How long did they browse your online store? You’re most likely a victim of click fraud when a high PPC ad impression and increasing ad expenses result in little to no conversions.
When all the three points mentioned are present in your situation, then you must promptly stop your PPC campaign. Seek professional help immediately in order to minimise the damage caused and prevent your PPC campaign from being destroyed by attackers.
Hassle-Free PPC Protection with Verz Design
With Google Ads being the biggest PPC network in the world, Google has implemented a system that easily determines if a click is fraudulent. However, such a system only filters automated fake clicks as they are easier to identify.
Businesses that do their own ad campaigns need to consider collaborating with skilled professionals in order to protect their hard work from both automated and manual click frauds.
Verz Design, as a trusted web development agency, applies qualified in-house technology and expertise that secures businesses’ search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns. We program custom websites and online ad functions that:
- Tracks the IP address of clicks and site visitors
- Determines what the IP address clicked on before landing on a webpage
- Filters and blocks IP addresses that repeatedly clicked on an advertisement
Safeguard your ad campaigns easily. Call us at 6841 1680 or send us an email at [email protected] for a free consultation.