Are you a victim of click fraud?

There are a few ways to determine whether you are a victim of click fraud, and prevent future attacks.

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Ad fraud warning signs

While you are analyzing your campaign data and analytics, keep an eye out for these suspicious signs, which can indicate ad fraud is at play:

Spike in сlicks

After seeing a steady level of clicks, they randomly spike up. Fraudsters use bots and click farms to make it look like your campaign is popular, only to run up your ad spend.

Low сonversions

Ideally, conversions should increase with volume. Low conversion rate during a spike in clicks might be another sign, as the numbers don’t add up.

Abandoned shopping carts

You notice visitors loading up their carts only to leave them behind. To fly under the radar, bots regularly disguise themselves as potential customers shopping. But since bots can’t actually purchase anything, they’ll bounce and abandon their cart.

Drained budget

If you are spending a lot of money but getting little to no ROI, you could be experiencing fraud. Fraudsters waste the ad budget by showing your ad to bots instead of humans, or by placing your ad where it can’t be seen by the human eye.

High bounce rates

A bounce is when a visitor arrives on one page of your website and doesn’t go any further into your site. If you are seeing a lot of users abandoning your site, you could be a target of bot activity.

Unfamiliar traffic sources

Look into your traffic data. Bad traffic may originate from large data centers and send multiple clicks from the same IP address. If your traffic is coming from an area outside of your target audience, this is a “red” flag.

Low Session Duration

Traffic doesn’t stay on your page. Most of your traffic hits your site, then only stays on the page for less than a second. Zero second session duration often points to bot activity.

Impressive numbers with no result

If the opposite happens and you’re getting lots of views with no response, you could have a bot problem. They’ll swarm your web page but won’t take any action.

How can you prevent click fraud?

We have compiled a list of some things you can do to help prevent these issues in the future.

Be proactive

One of the best ways to protect your company from click fraud is by taking a proactive approach and knowing about it in advance. You can achieve this by continuously monitoring your webpage’s ad performance and analytics. Doing so will help you spot and fix any possible problems before they result in severe consequences for your PPC campaign. If you use Google.Ads for your campaign, you can monitor invalid interactions and clicks on your dashboard.

Alter your targeting

In some instances, you may be able to eradicate click fraud by simply altering your ad’s targeting. If you notice a high volume of invalid clicks occurring on your Google.Ads dashboards simultaneously with a rise in traffic from particular geographical locations, you can modify your ad’s targeting to remove that location. However, ensure you only perform this if you are certain that most of your clicks produced from this area are deceptive.

Get expert advice

If any of the strategies above haven’t worked for you, it might be time to get expert advice. We are specialists in click fraud protection and PPC click forensics that can help you with your campaign.

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Report click fraud

If you think that you are a victim of click fraud, you can report your findings to Google and take steps to receive a refund for unwanted clicks. Many people have even gone to court over this.

Create IP exclusions

If there are some IP addresses you believe are executing click fraud, there is the option to stop your ads from being shown to users with these IP addresses. To do this, you must use Google.Ads and set up IP exclusions. After you’ve set this up, you will notice that your ads are no longer displayed to devices that use said IP addresses. Make sure that you do this each time you suspect any questionable activity. 

Restrict your ad spend

Another way to stop click fraud from happening is by limiting your ad spend to reliable webpages only. While this may not seem like the best solution if your aim is to place ads on hundreds of thousands of websites, it’s an effective preventative method for your PPC ad campaign. Simply go to your Google.Ads dashboard where you will have full control over what kinds of websites you would like to house your ads on.

Measure engagement

Since Google does not measure Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of your website, they are not able to detect click fraud at a local, manual level. So, it is up to you to analyze your data and determine if engagement is suspicious or not.

still have questions?

The  best way to prevent becoming a victim of click fraud is with our Click Fraud Detection and Prevention Tool.

1

We monitor your account

We provide live traffic monitoring to respond to potential threats in real-time. Not only do we notify you when threats occur, we also exclude the perpetrating IP Address from your Google.Ads account.

2

We analyze everything

Our tool performs cross-account analysis to questionable IP addresses. Armed up with machine learning techniques, our algorithm analyzes every single click using different tests.

3

We save you money

In addition to seeing an increase in conversion rates and high-quality leads, you won’t have to pay for unwanted clicks ever again.

More information

What are the leading causes of click fraud?

Competitors

Did you know that your direct competitors can also employ techniques that would enable them to siphon your budget, allowing their websites to have higher rankings for certain searches? What they do is resort to clicking on your ad any time they see it.

Bad bots

Web crawlers and bots are designed to scour the web in search of information. But there are bad bots whose sole aim is to click on certain ads hundreds and at times, even thousands of times. They do this to deplete the campaign budget.

Click farms

Click farms can either be human-powered factories or automated setups. They are mostly located in developing countries where the employees get paid as little as five dollars for every one hundred clicks.

Bots network

Criminals can set up a blend of automated bots and publisher websites intending to defraud advertisers. “Methbot” is among the most commonly used bot networks. It comprises an elaborate setup of bots operating on a bot network. The purpose of this network is to make fraudulent payout collections from video views.

How to get a refund from Google.Ads?

In the event you’d like to try and get a refund from Google Ads for invalid click activity, also known as click fraud, the best possible way at the time of writing is to submit a claim with Google using this link.

When filling out the form, be as detailed as possible. Examining your dimensions reports for any unusual patterns where certain geographical areas are clicking much more frequently than usual can help identify click fraud. 200 percent CTR is one obvious high CTR statistic that appears frequently in click fraud accounts. 1 impression + 2 clicks is a common combination.

Google often refunds you in multiple credits to your account over time, so it’s worth checking your billing to make sure you’re not trying to make a claim that Google has already refunded.

The inbuilt invalid clicks system has already dealt with the issue, according to our experience. To get a case escalated to a team who will manually look at your claim, you can argue your point and ask for a case to be raised for an invalid clicks investigation. Include weblogs from your web host for the time period you’re claiming. You won’t get a refund from Google without your weblogs because they’ll only have your account data to look at and nothing to compare it to.

After submitting the claim form, you should expect to wait weeks for an answer, and even longer for a refund. However, if you are a genuine victim of click fraud who has been overlooked by Google’s invalid clicks system, you must use the Click Quality Form.

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