This is a post for anyone who advertises online!

If you do advertise online, you have likely been a victim of click fraud (without even realising).

In a nutshell, click fraud is any unwanted clicks on ads on the internet. Should you become a victim of click fraud, your advertising budget can be eaten up as a result. It will also stop potential customers from accessing your website.

With more and more consumers opting to shop online rather than hitting retail stores, you need to be on your guard for the warning signs of click fraud. To help, here is what to look out for and how to prevent becoming a victim of click fraud.

No one completes a purchase

When monitoring your click data, make sure to take a close look at the habits your ‘visitors’ have. If you find that they’re filling up the shopping cart, but never checking it out, this is a warning sign of click fraud that you must be aware of. You may also find consumers browsing your webpage sporadically with no real purpose. Naturally, the purpose of a PPC campaign is to boost your audience base and increase revenue. So, should any of the red flags above ring true to your situation, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Unusual volume of clicks

When you next examine the figures of your PPC campaign, you may notice a large quantity of clicks but they are not boosting the number of sales you make. An unusual volume of clicks is a sure-fire indicator that there may be something more menacing happening in your operation. While it may not be enough to convince you that your ad campaign is under threat, it is a warning sign that should prompt additional investigation.  The number of sales and clicks you have should correlate somewhat. So, if the numbers don’t balance well together, it’s time to take action.

No boost in number of conversions

When you investigate your PPC campaign, make sure you factor in the time of day or night visitors click on your ads. If you find that you’re getting swamped for an hour or two earlier in the day, this can exhaust your budget in a quicker time frame and make you a victim of click fraud. When conducting further research, the times of the attack may help you establish who is likely behind the action. Unfortunately, many offshore fraud perpetration organisations will click on your ads at strange hours.

What can you do to mitigate these issues?

Ever helpful, we have compiled a list of some things you can do to help prevent these issues in 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.

Create IP exclusions

If there are some IP addresses that 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. 

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.

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.

Get expert advice

If any of the strategies above haven’t worked for you, it may be time to get expert advice. ClickGUARD has an in-depth guide on Click Fraud that’s worth checking out. Once you check out their guide on how to avoid Click Fraud, you will know what tactics to implement in your PPC campaign. ClickGUARD are specialists in click fraud protection and PPC click forensics that can help you with your campaign.

If you’re not careful, you could end up joining thousands of other PPC advertisers and become a click fraud victim. For your PPC campaign to be a success and attract more consumers to your webpage, understanding the warning signs above and knowing what preventative measures to put in place will help boost success.

Image credit: janrezab.com

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