For those working in the digital advertising sector, ad fraud is a never-ending source of frustration. It makes no difference to advertisers running PPC campaigns whether they are paying $100 or $100,000: ad fraud has a disastrous impact on their marketing budgets, return on investment (ROI), and campaign statistics, regardless of the amount of money spent.
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Here’s a disturbing statistic: 20 percent of clicks on PPC advertising are generated by click fraud. Organizations looking for solutions to prevent click fraud from impacting their efforts, on the other hand, must look beyond the phrase “click fraud” as an umbrella word to find them.
In fact, there are several types of ad fraud that specifically target pay-per-click advertising. In this piece, we’ll discuss the several sorts of ad fraud that advertisers should be aware of, how to identify them, and finally, how to best prevent them from occurring.
There are five types of ad fraud that might damage PPC campaigns. In general, click fraud is carried out by two primary actors: fraudulent publishers and competitors. Click fraud is perpetrated by fraudsters using a variety of methods and vehicles. We’ll go over the five most common varieties in more detail below.
Bots that are harmful
A total of 40 percent of all internet traffic is generated by bots in general. Bad bots, on the other hand, are the ones that advertisers need to be on the lookout for. They commit click fraud by imitating real human workflows across a variety of web apps while pretending to be genuine users.
In the advertising industry, “bad bots” are an exceedingly malicious form of ad fraud. They are notorious for doing repetitive tasks, such as initiating fictitious clicks, at an excessively quick rate. This enables them to produce a tremendous volume of fake clicks for PPC advertisements that drain budgets quickly. Not only do bad bots deplete PPC budgets, but they also raise the cost of your PPC efforts, making it incredibly difficult to conduct profitable campaigns in the first place.
The sophistication of click farms varies, but the premise is straightforward. Consider the following scenario: a large room full with individuals seated in front of laptops and/or phones. These workers are paid small sums of money to manually click on pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements on the internet, with the goal of increasing clickthrough rates and depleting advertising budgets.
Click farms, despite the fact that they are often basic businesses, are frequently headquartered in nations where there is minimal regulation of ad fraud (such as China, India, and the Philippines). It becomes considerably more difficult to mitigate the negative effects of click farms as a result of this.
The volume of data center traffic
Data centers and hosting providers are both convenient platforms for fraudsters to operate from. In order to conduct fraud schemes, they must have access to all of the necessary infrastructure, which includes fast and high-bandwidth networks, anonymity, and on-demand, elastic hardware.
Typically, fraudsters use data centers as proxy/anonymizer VPN servers to conceal their operations and/or location, as well as to launch malware and automated software from these workstations. In many cases, fraudsters used hundreds of servers in cloud data centers to run browsers and emulators, resulting in large quantities of mobile and desktop traffic being generated.
Click spamming is a technique used by fraudsters to grab PPC dollars by flooding adverts with fake clicks. Click spamming fraud occurs when fraudsters perform clicks on behalf of legitimate users who have not made the clicks. When a consumer enters a mobile web page or an app where fraudsters are already present, this is referred to as “click spamming.” Fraudsters can do the following from here:
- Fake clicks should be made in the background.
- Send clicks to unseen advertisements that are running in the background.
- Provide random vendors with clicks from a user’s device, and in exchange, you will earn a payment for advertisements.
Geomasking is an ad fraud method that fraudsters employ in order to conceal the location of the clicks that they generate on their advertisements. Advertisers frequently spend more or less money on PPC advertisements depending on where they are based (this is dependent on which locations they deem to be more valuable).
In order to fool advertisers into believing that clicks are more valuable than they actually are, fraudsters fake IP addresses. This leads to the payment of rewards for fraudulent clicks. Fraudsters also conceal their physical whereabouts so that the fraud they perpetrate cannot be detected by trends in geographic distribution.
The symptoms that your PPC ads have fallen prey to click fraud – and how to avoid being a victim yourself
In most cases, advertisers can detect click fraud if they observe the following characteristics:
- There have been significant increases in the number of clicks on PPC advertisements.
- Despite a spike in the number of clicks, conversion rates remain low.
- Traffic arriving from unexpected geographic or geographical areas
- The number of page views has decreased despite a spike in the number of clicks.
- Despite a spike in the number of clicks, there is a significant bounce rate.
In order to prevent illegitimate activity from malicious bots, click farms, and other forms of ad fraud, Google Ads are being used. Despite the fact that Google can ban IP addresses using its invalid click detection filter, marketers may still see some fraudulent activity slip through the cracks, according to the company.
Using PPC platforms to monitor ads for click fraud and ban certain IP addresses and fraudulent publisher campaigns is a common practice. Despite the fact that many of these require checks and balances to ensure that click fraud does not occur, this strategy does not guarantee the prevention of click fraud on an absolute basis.
On the other hand, both of these systems, on the other hand, are mostly manual and reactive, and they rely on third parties to prevent click fraud from occurring. Implementing a dedicated anti-fraud solution is the only reliable, automated technique of avoiding click fraud before the damage is done for advertisers who are serious about safeguarding and improving their campaign for an optimum return on investment.