Abisola Tazanko | Oct 04, 2023
Setting up a PPC campaign isn’t something you can skip through. You need to do a copious amount of research before you get started. One necessary piece of research that must be conducted is a PPC competitive analysis.
Of course, you should also focus on your keywords and target audience because the cost per acquisition increases when your PPC campaign targets broad search terms. The issue with broad search terms is that they often target audiences with low intent, and they also target competitive businesses that have put the weight of their finances into general search terms.
There’s always competition when it comes to pay-per-click advertising; sometimes, it’s a matter of who has the biggest marketing budget. Your competitors are beating you on some keywords. But you can understand how to get an edge by analyzing your competitor’s PPC.
In this article, you’ll learn how to conduct effective PPC competitors’ analysis and help your ads rank higher on Google.
3 Quick Tips for PPC Competitor Analysis
Define your competition
Let’s say you’re trying to rank highly on Google for the keyword “accountants (in your city).” Of course, there is a lot of competition. Some competitors could be grounded players in your industry with well-known names, while others are not.
So the question is, who are your competitors? Do you want to rank higher in search rankings than established global accounting firms, or is there more competition from smaller local companies?
The truth is that beating your PPC competitors is a challenging task. After all, every company wants its ads to rank higher. However, knowing who your competitors are makes it easier to target and outperform market segments.
In some industries, identifying your rival is obvious. You may already know who your competitor is. However, in some cases, before you try to beat out multi-million dollar businesses with PPC advertising campaigns, you need to define where your business fits in the local (or national or global) market. There may be. For example, don’t search for keywords on Google; select these companies as your PPC competitors.
Consider your competitor’s campaign budget.
Getting to the top of paid search rankings depends heavily on your keyword bids. So you’ll want to know if your competitors are outbidding you. It’s true that the higher your bid, the higher your ad will rank.
What can you do to compete with a major competitor in the paid search rankings if you need more money? One way out is to bid higher at certain times, using specific campaigns. For instance, you notice that search volume increases on Saturday afternoons between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. By focusing your efforts on this particular moment, you can increase your bid or even target more keywords to see if that improves your conversion rate.
Another way to maximize your budget is to put a hold on bidding on high-volume, low-converting search terms. These are the most general broad-match keywords, anyway. Instead, focus on specialized search terms to generate more clicks and conversions.
Other factors, such as your quality score, will also affect your search engine rankings. So, ensure your landing pages are well-optimized for your campaigns and your website loading speed is up to par.
Analyze what your competitors are doing.
When it comes to PPC competitive analysis, this is what most people focus on. The truth is that it’s not at the top of the list because it’s not the most important factor. Analyzing how your PPC competitors are serving their ads isn’t as important as focusing on your own game!
As we have seen, not all brands should compete. After all, it’s usually the biggest brands that come out on top. Some can use their reputation to help their ads rank higher or get bigger budgets.
There are also branded keywords that help their campaigns rank higher on Google. So, it would be best if you faced a similar activity level to yours when doing this PPC competitor analysis. The Details section of the Google Ads and Microsoft Ads drop-down menus is also helpful with this.
You can find out how often you and your PPC competitors receive impressions, which can help you know whether they are worthy competitors. It also shows the top ranking ratio, i.e., how often the advertiser’s ad is shown higher than yours. If your PPC competitors are dragging your ad rankings down along with you, it’s time to review their keywords with analytics tools.
Three great tools to analyze your competitors’ PPC campaigns
SemRush is another tool that helps you discover what you might have missed. This tool can highlight to you the various ways other ads outperform yours (including keywords). There is a Keyword Gap tool that allows you to compare your domain’s keyword portfolio with that of your closest competitors.
SpyFu allows you to search any domain and see it everywhere it appears on Google. With SpyFu, all the keywords a domain has ever purchased can be seen.
This handy tool allows you to explore your competitors’ keywords and see what works and what doesn’t work for them.
iSpionage gives access to SEO and PPC keyword data from Google, Bing, and Yahoo. PPC can be analyzed with the results from these three (3) search engines, which can help you analyze your PPC competitors’ keyword rankings on different search engines. This provides a unique database of results, which can help build your search engine strategy.
The above tools help you conduct in-depth keyword research in different capacities. Once you find out what terms and phrases your competitors use in their ads, you can analyze the data to understand how profitable a specific keyword is for your business. Ensure you don’t let another PPC player take your spot!
Use effective strategies to beat your PPC competitors’ keywords
The world of marketing is highly competitive, and that is a fact. If you plan to copy your competitors’ keywords and content, your ads will perform poorly.
You need to find keywords with a lower cost per click and use them as long as they improve your ad ranking and CPA. Once you find an actionable keyword with a high volume and CPC that you can afford, create a single-keyword ad group and tailor the ad copy to that keyword.
This will generate a higher ad quality score by increasing the relevance of your ad in the process.
Abisola Tazanko | Aug 30, 2023
Do you need to optimize PPC campaigns?
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is still one of the most effective ways to get new leads and generate revenue. Naturally, you would want to optimize PPC ads for your business.
Because PPC campaigns focuses on specific, targeted keywords, you will get more targeted traffic. This cuts down on the risk of getting the wrong leads and eventually improves conversion rates.
Also, because paid advertising is rolled out instantly, even for a new business, you can see results faster than if you rely on just inbound marketing strategies like SEO.
While you can and should always focus on long-term inbound marketing strategies for your website (organic leads will help you cut costs in the long run), using PPC campaigns along with these strategies can help increase sales and sustain the cost of running these campaigns in the first place.
Here are our top 10 ways to optimize your PPC ads to drive conversions and increase revenue.
How to optimize PPC campaigns
Regularly update your keyword list.
When you publish your first PPC campaign, you probably already have several keywords to use. Since you’re paying a certain amount for each keyword, see how each performs and weed out the ones that don’t. You can redirect your budget from those underperforming keywords to newer ones or increase your budget for those doing well.
Improve the performance of your website.
Next, improve the performance of your page. You want your website to load quickly because users are more likely to leave sites that take more than 2 seconds to load.
If you want to test your website’s loading speed, use GTmetrix, Pingdom Tools, or Google’s Pagespeed Insights.
Make sure your website is accessible and secure.
An accessible website is not difficult for visitors to read and navigate. Most are related to design, such as breaking up long paragraphs, using the right fonts, and making use of different content formats like images and videos where necessary. There are some basic general rules of website accessibility that you may want to consider, and while doing so, be sure to also focus on website security.
Create localized landing pages.
If your business operates in a particular neighbourhood, you should make the most of localized landing pages to reach the right people at the right time and place.
If you have multiple locations, differentiate each with its own landing page, making the experience more personal and relevant to your visitors.
This step is easy to do once you have a reliable website builder. Copy pages that may be location-dependent and optimize your copy to reflect that.
Use ad extensions.
Ad extensions are free add-ons for paid advertising campaigns, so you should use this add-on if needed.
Some of the best ad extensions for PPC campaigns are callouts, site links, and review extensions. These extensions tell users what your site is about and what people think of you and give them a preview of what they can find on your site in the form of a direct link.
You can also choose extensions that allow users to call or contact your business directly.
Develop a remarketing strategy.
A remarketing strategy is sometimes referred to as retargeting. This strategy involves tracking visitors and providing them with relevant advertisements on your other websites and platforms, like your social media page.
This is an excellent strategy for converting leads into paying customers, especially if they’re not ready to buy for the first time or if you need help getting hold of their email address or contact information.
A/B checks everything.
A/B testing your ads should be something you do all the time. Since many factors can influence a customer’s tendency to click or buy, it’s good to test different factors to see which ones convert the most. For instance, create several versions of your landing page and experiment with different designs and headers.
You can A/B test your ads also directly from Google Ads in their experiment tab. You can also instantly link to separate landing pages and test continuously.
Take advantage of FOMO.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a great tactic to generate more sales because no one likes to be left out. Many different emergency tactics work well, and many successful campaigns often combine them.
In your PPC ads, you can use scarcity to attract people. Using phrases like “sales end in 12 hours,” free X when you buy Y,” or even “X spot left” can be very helpful in conveying a sense of FOMO to customers.
You can also use FOMO on your landing pages to optimize your limited offer.
Focus on the channels that generate the most conversions.
Over time, you can tell which ad channels drive the most conversions.
If you have spread your ad campaign budget across multiple platforms and channels—think, for a start, of search engines and a combination of social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn—then, over time, It will be clear which platform is attracting more customers.
It may take a while before you know your best-performing channels, but once you figure out what they are, focus on increasing your budget to drive traffic through those channels. To increase the conversion rates and maximize the return on investment (ROI).
Improve your copywriting skills.
Lastly, copywriting is one of the most essential parts of your PPC advertising. Since these ads appear in search engine results, you only have a little space to display photos or videos.
Instead, your copy stands out. If this is your first PPC campaign, one of the best ways to get a good ROI is to hire experienced copywriters who have worked on similar campaigns. So if you’re a beauty product company, for instance, you’ll want to hire professional copywriters who know how to market your services to your ideal client.
Whether you’re about to create your first or even 50th PPC campaign, you should know the strategies and tips that will help you optimize your ads, increase conversion rates, and increase sales. Use the techniques above to see how you can continue to tweak your PPC campaigns. Do not be afraid to experiment and find ways to make your ads even better.
Abisola Tazanko | Aug 23, 2023
Every advertiser has, at some point, wondered what the deal is with tracking templates. Are they important? How do they work? How do I add tracking templates to my website? And many other questions. How do they affect my ads? Etc.
Here’s a quick guide to tracking templates and their importance.
What are tracking templates
Tracking templates are simply slight modifications to your website or landing page URLs that help you track clicks to your website. They use tracking parameters to customize your landing page URL.
To effectively track clicks from ad campaigns and ad groups, you should put your URL tracking information in a tracking template. Tracking templates can be defined at the account level, ad group level, campaign level, and keyword level. Keyword-level tracking templates are the most specific.
Why are tracking templates important?
Tracking templates help you capture more data about the source of your clicks.
In Google ads, tracking templates help you capture more performance data needed to help you optimize your targeting and audience parameters.
CRMs such as Hubspot use tracking templates to track and report ad details within your HubSpot account. While click fraud monitoring software like ClickPatrol use tracking templates to capture and screen click characteristics for click fraud.
How to find your ClickPatrol Tracking Template
- Log on to your ClickPatrol dashboard
- Navigate to my account
- Click on “Tracker
Abisola Tazanko | Aug 16, 2023
Advertisers all over the world have asked this important question: Is Google Ads click protection necessary?
Although click fraud doesn’t fall under ‘another business cost’, you must take it very seriously. Google is undoubtedly the dominant digital marketplace in this century, but that doesn’t excuse the presence of click fraud on your webpage.
The truth is that fraudulent people are always looking to make quick cash, and their activities affect the score of your website and brand. To prevent these activities from negatively affecting your website, you need to know what causes them and how to prevent your webpage from receiving such clicks.
What is click fraud?
Click fraud is the fraudulent clicking on ads with no intention of making a purchase. Cybercriminals take advantage of your ads by intentionally clicking on them without the intention of purchasing the product or service in question, thereby wiping out your advertising budget.
Such fraudulent acts may be carried out by haters, competitors, click farms and bots. About 17% of ad traffic comes from click fraud.
Types of click fraud
Identifying the culprits behind every fraudulent and malicious activity is essential to preventing click fraud effectively. Understanding the various behaviours of these fraudsters is crucial if you want to eliminate them. Below are the types of click fraud:
Bots are also known as automated programs. They hijack servers and computers, generate highly bogus clicks, and cause deceptive conversions. Bots mimic human behaviour, but there are automated filters put in place by Google that help stop click fraud.
Website owners with targeted content use the Google Display Network to push their ads on third-party websites. Web administrators own these websites, join Google AdSense, and earn about 68% of the total amount generated by ad clicks. Google put in place strict policy requirements, and if they are violated, they will be banned from AdSense. Also, Google terminates publishers immediately with fraudulent traffic, but the publishers are suspended when the traffic results from non-malicious invalid traffic.
Unfortunately, competitors who intend to run out of your revenue do this type of click fraud. They are usually competitors with the same niche and keywords as you who resort to fraudulent clicks to inflate your ad costs. Website owners who have keywords with more bidders are likely to have more intense competition.
How to prevent click fraud
After identifying the invalid clicks, there are various ways to prevent click fraud from invading your website. However, you must find out the method that best suits you and your website. Look through the preventive methods below to stop click fraud activities on your page;
IP exclusion in Google Adwords
If you have identified the IP addresses responsible for fraudulent clicks, you can exclude those IPAs from your Google ad. If you are getting clicks from a particular IP address but aren’t taking any action on your page, it is likely a case of fraudulent activity and should also be excluded. To exculde fradulent IPAs;
- Go to settings
- Select exclusion
- Click additional settings.
- Select edit and manually input the IPA you want to exclude
- Click save
The good thing is that IP address exclusion can be done in all the AdWords campaigns, which means you can block all fraudulent IPAs and potentially fraudulent IPAs across all your movements. Unfortunately, some fraudsters know they can be easily detected. Therefore, they resort to using IP hopping tools to avoid detection, but they can still be stopped by using third-party tools or keeping a tab on IPAs and source cookies’ unique ID numbers on your landing page.
Keep a close eye on the active timestamps of a user, starting from their visit to your webpage until they take any action. This is essential to protecting your Google ad because users with malicious intent will only click on your ad without taking any follow-up action. When you notice this, it is best to block that user to protect your website.
Use Google Anyalitics
Many people use Google Analytics to prevent fraudulent activity. Beyond tracking your webpage’s performance and keywords, Google Analytics highlights repetitive clicks from suspicious IPAs. Your AdWords can ensure you are not paying for any unknown fraudulent activity. To do this,
- Go to tools
- Select setup
- Click on billing and payments
- Select view transaction and document
- Click on invalid activity. You will find all invalid links here.
Go for the Google display network remarketing campaign
Display network remarketing allows users to see only the ads they are interested in. This way, advertisers can easily avoid click fraud since fraudsters cannot see the ads. There are companies that offer this service- display network marketing, and they can help you with this method.
Use specific pay-per-click keyword
Use specific keywords only. Limit your ad by targeting a specific industry instead of different niches. Having a clear audience helps produce genuine traffic, which leads to an increased conversion rate.
Check user’s behaviour regularly
Spend time on your PPC ads daily to identify keywords and advertisements that generate the most conversions on your website. Studying users’ behaviour on search engines will help you know what drives users towards your brand and service. However, if you notice similar fraudulent activities, stop your campaigns from showing on their screens immediately.
You need to block that location when you notice high invalid activity in a particular geographical zone (mainly if your business doesn’t operate there). Usually, these zones use click farms to carry out these clicks. Click farms are places where real people are put in a specific location to click on ads continually. This is done labour cheap countries like China, the Philippines, etc. Exclude the zone from the ‘location’ section to dodge such clicks. You can also exclude the respective languages. This prevention process, called ad targeting, ensures that traffic that brings high conversions is not blocked.
Set a budget
Set a maximum budget for your daily online marketing. This way, when running an ad, you can control click fraud and monitor your expenditures.
Fraud detection software
This method was the most effective way to protect your website from click fraud. Various detection software options, such as clickpatrol.com, are available to solve your click fraud issue on your ads. This software identifies users who intend to use invalid clicks on your site and monitors your ads and traffic. A good fraud detection software will block click fraud from clicking your ads in real time. This software is the most advanced way to handle click fraud and saves you time.
Protecting your Google ad from click fraud is essential for maximizing ad campaign effectiveness. These invalid clicks can damage your ad so much that they deplete your budget and impede the accuracy of your Google analysis. Deploy one or more preventive methods to protect your Google ad from fraud, especially the fraud detection software. This way, you can save your Google ad campaign and improve its effectiveness.
Abisola Tazanko | Jul 18, 2023
The ad and marketing world is tricky; every relationship between advertisers and search engines is based on trust, but publishers and search engines often exploit this trust. They do this by committing fraudulent clicks and abusing invalid clicks. In the discussion about invalid clicks vs fraudulent clicks, we must put advertisers first.
Advertisers pay a lot of money to put their products and services on different platforms; most advertisers get to do that through the PPC (pay-per-click) model, where ad advertisers pay a particular amount to the host website/page every time a customer clicks on the ad posted on the host website. In this type of marketing, site owners mostly have a budget for how much they are willing to spend on ads for a specific time. In recent years, eyebrows have been raised because the budget caps of publishers and advertisers are reached quickly yet without the impact of the acclaimed customers reached.
All of these happen because of invalid click exploitation and fraudulent clicks. Sometimes, website owners cheat their paying advertisers with illegitimate ad clicks. This means advertisers pay their website host for fraudulent and invalid clicks, which does not translate to revenue.
Difference between Invalid Clicks and Fraudulent Clicks
More often than not, these terms have been used wrongly or interchangeably. This is understandable because they are both forms of click fraud. Also, they both have a negative impact on ads, and advertisers have to pay for these clicks that do not positively add to their ad or overall website development.
With that at the forefront of your mind, it is understandable why people mix them up and can’t differentiate them properly, but they are different, and we will discuss a few differences you should know.
Fraudulent clicks are for the sole purpose of inflating the cost of your ad. This click is usually employed by competitors with malicious intent to stall your growth. To carry out fraudulent clicks, bots and automated tools are often used. Fraudulent clicks can be as simple as a single person continually clicking on your ad or as complex as a bot committing click fraud.
On the other hand, invalid clicks are simply accidental. Google AdWords helps differentiate between valid and invalid clicks. It has an algorithm that picks out clicks that are genuine and takes out clicks that are inflated, irregular, or extraneous. When your customer unintentionally double-clicks on your ad, it can be flagged as an invalid click. The specific algorithm used by Google AdWords to filter out invalid clicks still needs to be clarified, but understandably so to avoid exploitation by people.
The significant difference between fraudulent clicks and invalid clicks is intention. The primary purpose of a fraudulent click is to cripple a competitor’s advertising strategy or help publishers make inflated profits, while an invalid click is accidental. This doesn’t excuse those advertisers or publishers who exploit invalid clicks for their own gain.
Invalid clicks can also be exploited to take advantage of someone’s ad campaign, and we know that now. More often than not, those kinds of attacks come from your competitor; when they ruin your ad campaign, they automatically get an edge over you in the marketplace. This means that if you continue to get invalid clicks on your ads, the loss in terms of revenue will be significant.
Preventing invalid and fraudulent clicks.
Even though invalid clicks are accidental, they are still awful for businesses, including fraud. Advertisers and publishers should have accurate knowledge of how to fight them.
Because the two types of clicks have a few significant differences, preventing fraudulent and invalid clicks effectively will require various methods.
How to prevent invalid clicks
- Avoid clicking on your ad; even if you have to test or check something on your ad, use a third-party tool. When you click on your ad, you unintentionally generate false impressions, which Google AdWords will flag as an invalid click.
- Stop encouraging family and friends to click on your ad all the time. Google will flag these clicks as invalid because they came from the same device/IP address.
- When you ask supporters to click on your ad in exchange for something, it is always bad for your business. Please do not do it!
- Ensure that the plans you have laid out for your ad do not lead to extraneous or accidental clicks.
- Be careful who you choose as a partner when doing an ad. Ensure that you do all your due diligence.
How to prevent fraudulent clicks
- Try to limit the scope of your ad as much as you can. Your target audience should be from a particular region so you can quickly identify fraudulent clicks from countries known for committing fraudulent clicks.
- Constantly monitor your ads. Employ analytic tools such as Google AdWords or any other analytical tool available. These tools help you monitor your ads and identify when fraudulent activities are taking place.
- Using popular and high-end websites to publish your ads is always wise because they have a proven track record. Avoid unknown websites as much as possible because they will likely engage in inflationary click fraud to take advantage of you.
- Invest in anti-fraud detection software. It is a wise decision. There are various kinds of anti-fraud software to fit your specifications. Surf through software programs and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Invalid and fraudulent clicks should not be tolerated
Distinguishing between invalid clicks and fraudulent clicks is crucial for businesses to accurately assess the effectiveness of their online advertising campaigns and protect themselves from malicious activities.
We know that invalid and fraudulent clicks are terms people use loosely; as an advertiser, you should not mix them up as the same. Invalid clicks and fraudulent clicks are different; keeping them separate helps you prevent them effectively. Over the years, these clicks have posed a major problem and caused significant damage to advertisers and publishers. Watch out closely for these clicks and deal with them accordingly.
Abisola Tazanko | Jul 05, 2023
We are excited to finally share updates on the IP whitelist and blacklist function on ClickPatrol.com.
One of the best ways to control access to your search or display ads is by utilizing ClickPatrol.com IP whitelists and blacklists.
Blacklists, in particular, are beneficial for proactively preventing bots, click farms, and competitor IPs from accessing your campaigns.
Here’s how to whitelist or blacklist IPs
- Log on to your ClickPatrol.com dashboard
- Navigate to settings at the top right of your dashboard
- Click Whitelist IP or Blacklist IP
- Past the IP you want to whitelist or blacklist
- Click update configuration.
To view the list of IPs blacklisted or whitelisted,
- Navigate to whitelist IPs or blacklist IPs
- Click IPs whitelisted or IPs Blacklisted to see a list.
You may export this list as a CSV or delete IPs from the list.
Watch a short tutorial here: Where can I whitelist or blacklist IPs in ClickPatrol for Google Ads? | ClickPatrol
Abisola Tazanko | Jun 28, 2023
Bot traffic feasting on Google ads and other online campaigns has become a well-known issue over the past few years. With constant sensitization to bot traffic, advertisers, publishers, and customers have become weary of bots and their effect on the online space.
Thankfully, with Google Analytics, bot traffic can be spotted. However, identifying the specific activity of the bot and choosing which bot to block may be tricky because there are good and bad bots.
As an online marketer, how do you spot bot traffic in analytics? Why is there even bot traffic on your website? Most importantly, how do you stop bot traffic from negatively affecting your website?
What is bot traffic?
A bot is an autonomous online program that performs processes and tasks. These tasks can vary from clicking on paid ads to collecting data from search engine results, spamming comments, or scraping your content. Bots are created to behave and interact like humans.
As of 2022, statistics show that about 47.4% of internet traffic comes from bots, about a 5.1% increase from the previous year. Statistics also show that human traffic on the internet, at 52.6%, has dropped to its lowest level over the past eight years. This means that bot traffic is an almost unavoidable evil.
As much as bot traffic does a lot worse, there are good bots that crawl your website to give you visibility. For instance, a good bot crawling your website allows your page to appear in Google search results. Also, with good bots, your keyword research will work.
These good bots shouldn’t be blocked. However, you might need to exclude them from your Google Analytics. Bad bots, such as click bots, spam bots, crawling bots, carding bots, etc., do great harm to your page and alter your Google Analytics.
How to identify bot traffic in your Google Analytics
There are several ways to identify bot traffic in Google Analytics, depending on the bot type:
Not all traffic spikes mean the presence of a bot; some spikes are from genuine page interaction. For instance, if a famous influencer posts something online, the page will have activity, leading to a spike in traffic. Still, when your traffic spike isn’t a result of genuine interaction, the spike is mostly a sign of bot traffic.
Another sign of bot activity on your webpage is when there is a higher-than-usual bounce rate, a low session rate, or an increased percentage of single webpage views. These signs can also mean that your page could offer a better experience for users. Be sure of the cause before assuming the presence of bots.
One of the most apparent signs of bot activity on your page is when you see strange comments (spam), leads from fake emails, or declined card transactions. When you start seeing an increase in non-human activities, you are experiencing bot traffic.
Monitor your page users; their OS and location are always specified. However, bots sometimes have an OS or place that will show up in your Google Analytics dashboard. When you doubt your traffic spike, check the geolocation on your analytics dashboard.
How to remove bots from your Google Analytics
Most of the data from Google Analytics will include crawls from good bots such as research tools (e.g., SEMrushbot-CT) or search engine indexing (e.g., Bing).
All these bots are good, so they are better excluded from your analytics than blocked. For blocking horrible bot traffic, it is best to identify them and add them to your exclusion list. How do I create a block list or exclusion list?
Four significant ways to block bot activities from your Google Analytics dashboard exist.
Use the Google Analytics standard bot filtering option
To get this done, go to
- Go to Admin
- Select Section
- View Settings
- Select the box Bot Filtering: ‘Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders’.
This method will remove all bot activities from your data. Note that you have only removed the data, but you haven’t blocked the bots
Exclude particular bots from your list and create a custom view
To get this done, go to
- Select the Create View button. An option will be presented to choose a name for your new view. Ensure that you do not tick the bot Filtering box.
You can also add a custom filter of your choice. To do that, go
- Select New Custom View
- Select Filter
- Select Custom Filter
- Add the ISP details, IP address, hostname, and any other information you wish to add to the filter
- Confirm the filter before application to be sure how it would adjust primary data.
Use the referral exclusion list
To do that, go to
- Select Property Tab
- Select Tracking Info
- Select Referral Exclusion List
- Write the domain you are excluding and save the filter
This way, you can remove from your Google Analytics data certain domains, especially those that provide ghost spam or SEO spam
Take out bot activity from existing Analytics
You can also add a filter to see how your web traffic looks without bot traffic. To do that, go to
- Select Overview
- Select Add Segment
- Click New Segment
- Name your New Segment
- Go to Conditions
- Select Include/Exclude
- Choose Exclude
- Switch the tab to Source and Matches Regex.
- Input the identified bot traffic domain
- Save your filter by clicking the Save button.
This way, bot traffic is excluded from your Analytic data
How do these solutions help?
When you remove bot traffic from your Analytics, you get a clear picture of what your traffic data looks like and know better if the traffic on your website is genuine. Though this method helps remove bot traffic from your analytics, it won’t stop bot traffic from invading your ad or website.
How to prevent bots from clicking on your ad
You save yourself money and a lot of effort when you prevent bot activities from clicking your Google ad
. There are three ways to block bot traffic from your ads. The first two are manual, while the last one is a digital solution
From your google ad drop-down, go to
- Choose the more+ button
- Select location
If you know your competitor’s zip code, you could exclude that location. If you don’t know, find out and block out their place. Unfortunately, a significant disadvantage of this solution is that potential clients from the blocked country/city will need help to see your ad. An advantage of this solution is that your competitors will not have access to your ad, nor can they send bots to attack it.
Exclude IP Address
From your campaigns, go to
- Click on the additional setting
- Exclude specific IPAs
If you can get your competitor’s IPA, you can exclude them from accessing your ads. If you have noticed any specific IP address that constantly clicks on your ad, you can ban that IP. The disadvantage of this solution is that it is challenging to pull off because it is a manual process. For instance, you could exclude about 50 IP addresses on a particular day, and on the next day, there are more to block out. That can be tiring.
Fraud prevention software
The most effective and efficient way to keep ad traffic out of your Google ad is to use fraud prevention software such as ClickPatrol. There are various pieces of software available to suit your specific needs. Good software is the most advanced way to block bad bots from accessing your ad campaign in real time. This means that fraudulent activities like click farms cannot access your ads. This software can also prevent spam bots, DDoS, or direct bots.
Abisola Tazanko | Jun 22, 2023
Everyone marketing in the online space, irrespective of their niche, will have one issue or the other with invalid clicks and impressions over time. Not all bots are bad bots, but invalid clicks and impressions still do more damage than good to a webpage’s overall reputation.
Invalid clicks and impressions threaten publishers and advertisers that intend to generate income and revenue from the online space.
In this article, we discuss the various types of traffic caused by invalid clicks and impressions, the causes of it, how you can protect yourself as a publisher from invalid traffic, get maximum returns from ad cost, and generally protect yourself from ad fraud.
What are invalid clicks and impressions?
Invalid clicks and impressions are generated artificially generated to inflate a punisher or advertisers earnings. This means that the clicks and impressions generated on a webpage’s content are not from genuine users. These impressions and clicks can happen intentionally or accidentally; intrusive ad clicks can be accidental clicks, and competitors, ad bot nets, and others can cause intentional clicks.
Invalid clicks and impressions don’t add anything to an advertiser’s revenue, so they are unnecessary. Research says as of 2023, publishers lose about $120 billion to ad fraud, including invalid clicks and impressions.
Invalid clicks and impressions include:
- Clicks and impressions from publishers themselves. They generate these clicks and impressions on their websites and ads. They use various tools to increase clicks and impressions.
- Use of bot traffic to learn about users’ data.
Invalid traffic which is made up of invalid clicks and impressions is classified byb Media Rating Council as GIVT (general invalid traffic) and SIVT (sophisticated invalid traffic).
GIVT (General Invalid Traffic)
This traffic performs in the background by scanning a web page for information. This traffic doesn’t behave like real users, and they do not intend to defraud. They are the least type of risky invalid traffic. Examples of general invalid traffic are:
- Bots and crawlers that are generated from search engines and data centres
- Brand safety bots
- Analytics crawlers
- Invalid ad placement
- Traffic from browsers that are unknown
Even though general invalid traffic is non-human, they are primarily used to sanitize the ecosystem of the digital space, like to improve on the data extracted by the traffic. It is important to note that GIVT does not inflate ad visibility.
SIVT (Sophisticated Invalid Traffic)
This kind of traffic is done with malicious intent. These clicks and impressions are much more technical than the general invalid traffic, which makes it quite difficult to identify. They mimic real user behaviour. For sophisticated invalid traffic to be detected, there will be the need for advanced analytics such as click fraud protection software, coupled with human intervention to detect fake clicks and impressions against ultimate artificial inflation. SIVT doesn’t always meet the criteria of ad quality, ad completeness, etc. Examples of sophisticated invalid traffic include:
- Cookie surfing
- Bot traffic (interact with digital ads and web pages like real users)
- Bot (that manipulates statistics and data)
- Illegal substitute traffic
- False location data
- Hacked user devices
Causes Of Invalid Clicks And Impressions
As an adveriser, when your webpage has been hit by invalid traffic or impression, it could mean:
- The source of the fake traffic is unknown
- The publisher is intentionally generating clicks or impressions
This first category means the publisher is in the dark about the main cause or source of the traffic. Below are three causes of unintentional traffic:
Redirected and expired domains
One common SEO practice is buying expired domains. Publisher either move their website to the expired domain or build a new one entirely to fit the industry niche. This helps publishers to:
- Take over a domain that has good authority command
- The publisher’s industry has a similar name with a domain name
- The domain has a .org or .edu address that provides the publisher with higher authority
- Access to good backlinks if the site has one
When publishers buy expired domains, they can benefit from existing backlinks, domain ranking, and authority. The issue is that when publishers get the transferred clicks and impressions from the domain, they cannot ascertain where the clicks and impressions are coming from and why. Transferring clicks and impressions, publishers can be setting themselves up for:
- Bots and crawlers
- High bounce rate (this is because users may be looking for the previous webpage)
- Google warnings about invalid traffic
As a publisher or site owner, investigate the clicks and impressions transferred to you by the expired domain. This can be done by examining the server’s log file; when this is done, a domain forwarding filter can be used to separate bots. This way, you can keep the backlink while still being protected from bots.
Bots dominate web traffic. There are good bots (such as Google bots, SEO crawlers, etc.) and bad bots(such as click bots, scraper, etc.). The number of bad bots is on the increase daily. Changing the default URL login is one easy and straightforward way to avoid getting hacked. For instance, if your site was www.mysite.com/admin, you can change it to www.mysite.com/portallogin123. Leaving your admin login as your default login ensures that your website will be hacked. When you change your default URL and get hacked, the hackers will be redirected to a 404 page.
Even though purchasing traffic to increase clicks and impressions is still very popular and rampant, it is eventually a dead end. Purchased traffic is usually from a click farm, where special software or human traffic is paid to inflate clicks and impressions. This gives a short time of excitement, but ultimately, it is a bad move for the publisher’s webpage and revenue.
The better way to do it is to focus on SEO and create truly engaging content that will make real users happy. This way, advertisers get value for their money and will go to every length to pay the publisher what their webpage demands for.
How To Eliminate Invalid Traffic On Your Webpage
Invalid clicks and impressions affect both the publisher and the advertiser. Search engines do a lot to handle invalid clicks. They take their program policies seriously so that if they notice high invalid clicks on a page, they disable or suspend the page to protect users and advertisers. Invalid clicks and impressions can devalue a publisher’s credibility.
Sometimes advertisers need to filter out bots to identify and eliminate invalid traffic. This can be done by google analytics. Google Analytics proves quite effective in filtering out invalid clicks and impressions but doesn’t guarantee 100% removal of invalid clicks and impressions. Therefore, publishers should imbibe good practices such as
- Follow policies and guidelines for ad placement
- Dont click your ad as a publisher
- Validate your traffic with a third-party screening tool such as ClickPatrol.
As a publisher, you must monitor your traffic source constantly and get the help of an ad fraud software prevention company to protect your revenue and overall reputation, as the case may be.
Invalid clicks and impressions remain a significant concern in the digital advertising industry. These fraudulent activities drain resources, distort campaign performance, and undermine trust and credibility in online advertising. While advancements in technology and analytics have enabled better detection and prevention methods, the ever-evolving nature of invalid click and impression fraud necessitates ongoing vigilance and proactive measures. Collaborative efforts between advertisers, ad platforms, and industry regulators are crucial to combat this issue effectively, ensuring a fair and transparent ecosystem that fosters genuine engagement, accurate measurement, and optimal return on investment for all stakeholders involved.
Abisola Tazanko | Mar 08, 2023
It is no news that cybercrime has continued to increase, with new cyber threats and attacks springing up almost every day. Many of these cybercrimes are made possible with the help of malicious bots, among others.
Bots are non-human traffic on a website. They are software programs that run an automated script on the internet. They execute simple but repetitive tasks much faster than a human could.
It is essential to state that although bots have a bad reputation due to their association with various cybercrimes, there are still good bots owned by reputable companies like Facebook or Google that can benefit our website.
The very advanced bad bots can imitate human behavior, which makes it more challenging to differentiate the bots from authentic human users. You must know various websites are targeted for different reasons. Still, in most cases, bots are created with malicious intentions and significantly impact the overall optimal operation of your website to avoid the negative impact. Such bad bots include web scraping, brute force attacks, spam, credit card cracking and related fraud, DoS attacks, etc.
How To Stop Bot Traffic
This aims to prevent attacks from these bad bots while allowing legitimate traffic from human users. Below are some of the most effective ways to stop or prevent bot traffic.
CAPTCHA (a completely automated Turing test to tell computers and humans apart) is a system that was introduced as a security test to differentiate between human users and bots that harm websites. A CAPTCHA will protect your website by generating tests or puzzles that only genuine human users can pass, not bots. CAPTCHA was first limited to distorted letters or words. Still, as it evolved, its updated versions show various pictures in which users must select photos with similar images, such as mountains or traffic lights. Over time, they have proven helpful in battling bots on websites, but it is essential to know when to use them and when not to, as they will not stop more advanced bots.
Monitor Your Traffic
Monitor your website traffic as often as possible; if you see a spike in the traffic for a short time window (there are few exceptions), this can indicate bot activity, especially if something new is happening on the website. Also, when there is a notable slowdown on your website, and it drops the quality of its overall performance, there is a high possibility that it is due to bots. Bot traffic usually comes from direct traffic, not from Google searches. When you identify the bot, you block them. However, the accuracy of this method varies because it is a manual process and, therefore, error-prone.
Servers all have log files that record all website visits from each user based on their IP location. Log files will help you identify bots; any request made on your website goes to your log files. Since you can check the IP address of every request, you can locate the bot by tracing and checking its IP. When you get your log file, consolidate them into a text file and export it to excel; if you find anything unusual, it is most likely a bot and should be blocked. The downside of this is that not all suspicious IPs are bots, and therefore there is a chance you just blocked a user or potential client.
A controlled and secure environment known as a “honeypot” is used to study various risks and demonstrate how attackers operate. They can give you detailed intelligence about how threats are evolving on your website. Honeytrap is an excellent way to capture bots because it works as a simple website, baiting bots into thinking it is a legitimate targets. This system is made attractive enough to lure the bots into this mimic website, thereby giving you information about the bot and also allowing you to spot the emergence of new threats. After getting this information from the honeypot, security efforts can be prioritized against the bot. There are various honeypots to identify different kinds of bots, such as email traps, decoy databases, malware honeypots, etc. A bot may still exist even if your honeypot doesn’t alert you to it; it should be noted. There is a handful of disadvantage of honeypots, but ultimately, the benefit of honeypots outweighs the risk.
Bot Prevention Software
One very effective solution that can stop bots is automated bot prevention software. This will stop bots from ruining your website. Anti-Bot solutions such as ClickPatrol employ robust algorithms to detect malicious bots, differentiate them from human users, and ultimately eliminate them. When looking for a bot solution, you should look for proven and efficient bot detection quality, a non-intrusive design that does not require DNS rerouting or significant web application changes, and an easy-to-use dashboard that allows you to understand the bot traffic pattern, among others, quickly. The ideal prevention solution should eliminate every bot issue and stop every bot attack on your website.
More effort than passively handling bot traffic might be required to get bots on your website. To effectively stop the invasion of bots on your website and prevent future attacks, you must invest in professional bot management solutions that can detect and block even the most advanced attackers.
An efficient bot management solution should provide a unique and adequately managed attack response optimized explicitly for various bot attacks. A standard-sized website’s most appropriate bot management solution should enable sufficient cost savings, low infrastructure costs, and time optimization for handling bot attacks and customer complaints.
Bot issues are continuous; therefore, stopping bots from showing up on your site is essential to securing your website and protecting your content.
As the sheer volume of business damage caused by automated threats grows, bots put a costly strain on people and resources. These days, bots mimic human behavior and slip by traditional security tools.
As much as increased traffic appears to be a great win for your business, it is essential to find a clear, specific basis for the spike because one that is unexplained can be a sign of harmful bot activity.
Abisola Tazanko | Dec 18, 2022
Bots are software programs designed to carryout routine operations continuously.
Siri and the likes are good instances of bots that make life easier. However, numerous bots also replicate human actions to commit fraud.
Bots are typically straightforward software configured to complete a specific activity.
The primary purpose of click fraud bots is to generate fraudulent website traffic—just a series of clicks in a pattern.
When a bot visits a website and clicks on an ad, an icon, or another sort of hyperlink (obviously with no intention to purchase anything), it is said to engage in click fraud.
The purpose of click fraud bots is to deceive a website or service into believing that genuine people are interacting with ads or a webpage.
Digital marketers are more conscious of the need to prevent click fraud on their PPC ads, caused by an increase in the prevalence of the issue of click fraud, fraudulent clicks, and invalid traffic. This is not surprising given the billions or more wasted to click fraud each year with the use of click fraud bots.
What Are Click Fraud Bots?
Click fraud bots are programs or codes designed and created to carry out click fraud activities. Some bots may open a specific web page and click the specified link.
These are the most straightforward bots to identify because it is easy to tell them apart from real people.
More sophisticated bots will simulate user activity by moving their pointer controls and indicators, pausing, spending longer on pages, and randomly choosing how long they spend on each page. These bots are significantly more challenging to locate because of their human-like behaviors.
Several devices are used in click fraud campaigns, considering that it would be evident if many clicks originated from a single device. Given that devices have separate IP addresses, the users may be recognized easily.
The main purpose of click fraud bots is to allow the fraudster to profit financially from ad clicks and (sometimes) video engagements on the advertisements that are hosted on a webpage. Meanwhile, your advertising campaign is paying for squandered impressions.
These bots are essentially Trojan horse malware frequently planted on several devices and servers.
They can be used as a network component to click on several ads when implanted repeatedly. They could also use targeted click fraud, such as click spamming or injections.
How Click Fraud Bots Operate
Generally, click fraud bots are a great and easy way for fraudsters to make money. Advertisers use ad networks to discover publishers whose networks appeal to particular target audiences, place their advertisements there, and wait for clicks from those audiences.
This is where click fraud or fraudsters enter the picture and take advantage. The secret lies in the model as a whole, which is based on measures that are simple to interfere with and are dependent upon clicks.
Fraudsters use click bots to carry out click fraud by installing bots on several devices, computer servers, or cloud providers. They also place adverts on their subpar apps or web pages, while directing their bots to click on as many advertising, websites, and subpages as possible.
These fraudsters subsequently collect the revenue for the paid-ad clicks.
Ad campaigns frequently span several months, making it easy and fast to accumulate thousands of clicks. The advertiser who thinks they are paying for actual clicks incurs charges for each one of these budgets.
These clicks are generic indicators of an engagement on a specific content that occurred, as opposed to conversions and other on-site actions that might or might not result in potential opportunities for conversions. This makes click fraud bots simple to induce.
Who Is Behind Click Fraud Bots
Competitors and publishers/affiliates are typically the two categories of persons who commit click fraud. However, Anyone with a background in programming may construct and use click bots because they are so simple to make. In reality, bots are one of the most prevalent forms of ad fraud, generating up to 40% of all internet traffic.
Numerous actors use click bots, and none have good motives, similar to most ad fraud kinds (click fraud bots).
Competitors that know you won’t receive a return on your investment will quickly use click bots to click on your advertising and continually drain your budget. This is especially typical in extremely competitive ad marketplaces and should be considered.
Competitors aim to ruin digital advertising marketing initiatives of their rivals and incur as much financial loss as possible. Competitor click fraud bots are made expressly to sabotage your business. It could be a loud declaration or covert sabotage. In each case, its primary objective is to cause serious damage rather than drain the campaign’s finances.
Ad Publishers and Affiliates
Click affiliates and ad publishers use bots to enhance traffic and income, this practice is referred to as Inflationary Click fraud and it is one of the most sophisticated Click Fraud cases. In this instance, the working system is parasitized by the con artists. Their goal is to steal as much money as they can without being seen or blocked out.
They do this to collect payments for click-throughs on the advertisements because publishers and affiliates are incentivized to maintain a high click-through rate. Ads employing the PPC revenue model frequently use this. They pose a more significant threat to your campaigns the more organized and sophisticated they are (e.g., by using a larger network).
The special case of Disgruntled Former Employees:
A small percentage of click fraud is attributed to disgruntled former employees and customers4. This has gained more attention over time and is starting to become a concern for business owners.
In the past, there was news about disgruntled French workers inserting their wooden shoes (sabots) into machines to obstruct or sabotage’ them. Today, disgruntled employees are powerful enough to sabotage your business operations simply with the click of a button .
Botnet Click Campaigns
Botnet click campaigns are the most efficient way to target many pay-per-click ads by infecting computers connected to the internet with malware and using them to click on ads without the knowledge of the owners of these computers under the control of a botmaster.
They are used by network owners who wish to inflate traffic, competitors who wish to spy on their rivals and inflate their ad spending and aggrieved and disgruntled employees looking for payback.
How To Prevent Click Bots
Fraudulent accounts, including click-bots, are to blame for a significant portion of advertising budget loss on Google, Instagram and Facebook.
However, It’s straightforward to alert a server to cease providing the IP address associated with a particular device ads when it generates many fake clicks. Advanced click bots with human-like activities are the issue.
Although you can’t stop all click fraud bots, you can reduce the risk to your website by taking some simple security precautions. Here are a few actions:
- Look into the origins of your traffic and keep an eye out for spikes in it; unusual traffic increases are a sure sign that click fraud bots are at work. Keep an eye on the traffic to your website so you can identify any click-fraud bot attempts and blacklist any responsible IP addresses.
- Aim more precisely: Your chances of attracting various click bots increase with the size of your target. Sometimes, you can reduce the likelihood that click fraud bots will target your ads by narrowing down the areas or nations you wish to concentrate on. Limiting the reach of your adverts also lessens their vulnerability to click fraud bots. Ads displayed outside your time zone are more likely to draw click fraud bots.
- Examine the websites and applications where your advertisements are placed to see how well-designed they are. Web pages that are of low quality and have a lot of pop-ups and display ads are likely made with click fraud bots in mind.
- Keep a close eye on your API connections because they can be exposed to click fraud bots attacks if you utilize them to transfer data between and within your website. Use the latest API version, and erase any stale links from your website.
To tackle more advanced click fraud bots, you need to use click fraud protection software. Particularly one with advanced AI such as ClickPatrol.
ClickPatrol monitors and screens every click on your ad, analysing them for at least 800 IP and fingerprint characteristics. Therefore proactively detecting and blocking Click fraud bots.