Paid search has indeed opened opportunities for businesses to position their products and services in front of their prospective customers online. There’s no reason why pay per click ads don’t make an attractive choice for advertisers who want to make a quick entry into their industry.
But there’s also a growing concern among new business owners who are interested in leveraging paid search. This problem that potentially hinders the success of their online campaigns is click fraud.
What Is Click Fraud and Why Is It a Problem?
Click fraud is a bad practice where anonymous webmasters or competitors intentionally inflate the number of clicks on a business’ pay per click ad. Most often than not, these unscrupulous parties use automated robots to perform these clicks.
The result is that advertisers will be shelling out and burning thousands of marketing dollars for clicks that were never sent by real customers. Click fraud as a pressing problem negatively affects a business’ budget.
In fact, recent figures suggest that click fraud is costing advertisers about $16.4 billion in a year. While this continues to be on the rise, you can take several steps to help you approach the problem effectively. That way, you’ll be able to safeguard your business from being put in a bad financial situation and losing customers.
Keep track of patterns in your pay per click analytics
It’s worth your effort to watch out for unusual changes in your PPC analytics. There’s a reason for you to suspect fraudulent activity if your ads are getting more clicks than usual. At the same time, you notice that you aren’t receiving customer conversions during these increase in your clicks. A bit more diligence such as this goes a long way to avoid payment fraud.
Of course, looking out for unusual patterns requires that you have internal reporting. Collect pieces of information such as the IP address, click timestamp, action timestamp, and user agent. Make sure that you report your findings to search engines so that your account will get credited.
Leverage a software that fights click fraud
The DIY route to preventing and solving cases of click fraud can only go so far. Which is why brands realize that they need to invest in an automated solution. ClickCease is a click-fraud detection software that monitors your campaigns round-the-clock.
As an advertiser, you have the flexibility to decide on a threshold for the clicks that you get. Personalization is a plus factor to consider in Clickcease as you can ensure that you target the right audiences at the best place and time.
Fully automated to scale your PPC efforts, it hides your ads from potential attackers. See all your data at a glance with its intuitive dashboards to show how your campaigns are performing
Alter your targeting campaign
Sometimes, it will help to change your targeting campaign to do away with those unqualified clicks. For example, ifyou find out that you’re receiving a ton of clicks from a specific country but aren’t getting conversions, you can exclude this location in your AdWords settings.
Usually, click farms are found in poorer countries. In click farms, a click master pays workers for a very low fee to click on paid advertising links. Once the advertising budget of a brand is depleted, competitors will then be able to display their ads at a lower cost.
Better yet, program your AdWords right from the start to eliminate the possibility of click fraud in certain places. You need to remember though that weeding out countries also eliminates the good traffic you will get in those locations.
Run your ads on reputable websites only
Sites that are of low-quality are common places where click fraud occurs. The lower the quality of the website you run your ads on, the higher the risk of fraudulent activity to happen.
Search engines like Google allow you to tweak your ad campaigns so that you limit your ads to trusted websites only. This way, you protect your advertising budget and showing up in front of the wrong audience. Always prioritize websites you know have a huge number of real audiences who are likely to become paying customers.
Advertise on social media instead
Launching ads on social media networks like Twitter and Facebook is another way to prevent and fight click fraud because you do away with third-party platforms. Another benefit of advertising on social media is that you’re able to take advantage of more advanced targeting options.
These targeting capabilities allow you to choose specific demographic criteria and other personal details about your audience which result in more qualified leads. However, choosing social media over search has also a disadvantage. On social media, there is the lack of user intent.
Consider a remarketing campaign
Last but not the least, a remarketing ad campaign is another solution to stop click fraud. Remarketing is a form of online advertising in which you display your ads to people who’ve visited your website in the past. As they move on to other sites, seeing your ads reminds them of your brand, enticing them to complete an action on your site such as an email sign-up or a purchase.
Since search engines provide you with a tracking code to follow users who’ve interacted with you previously, you can reduce the incidence of fraudulent clicks. Remarketing is also beneficial since it lets you achieve specific goals such as a purchase when users abandon their shopping carts.
Any business, your business, can be a potential target of click fraud. But you don’t have to eliminate PPC advertising from your marketing arsenal simply because malicious competitors and bots are out to undermine your campaigns.
Using the strategies we have just discussed, you’ll be able to prevent and stop click fraud right in its tracks. To sum them up, make sure that you monitor unusual changes in your analytics and report them, tweak your ad campaign, pick reputable sites to show your ads on, advertise on social media, use an automated software, and consider remarketing.
With consistency and vigilance, you can attract your best customers and enjoy a higher ROI.