As digital marketing and advertising have grown to rely primarily on target audience clicks and views for PPC campaigns, the fraud strategies used by click fraud perpetrators to produce non-beneficial/spam clicks on PPC campaigns advertising industries have expanded. One of the techniques used is purchasing cheap clicks from click farms.
Click farms are often considered either a form of fraudulent online marketing or as a type of exploitative digital labour based on an illegitimate business operation that produces ‘click spam” – Johan Lindquist
Click farms generate a large number of fake clicks, views, and leads for advertising campaigns. These clicks, views, and leads are made with no intention of purchasing any item. This is currently one of the biggest problems of PPC campaigns and the digital marketing industry.
Click farms help their customers commit click fraud. These customers might be website owners looking to increase their earnings from advertisements or rival marketers looking to undermine existing online ad campaigns of other rivals.
In every scenario, a substantial portion of companies’ ad spend is lost on ineffective traffic produced by click farms. It is a fast-growing industry that can ruin your entire advertising campaign budget.
Click farm employees don’t simply click on a few advertisements now and then; they execute countless false clicks. Furthermore, because click farms are comprised of actual humans clicking on ads, these clicks might look authentic and are, therefore, more challenging to identify.
This article will guide you to learn about click farms, whether they are illegal, and how to prevent them from exhausting your company’s advertising budget.
Click farms are organizations with a collection of human employees that produce clicks at a large scale by manually clicking on internet adverts, typically using mobile devices, to raise engagement metrics, enhance CTR rates, and dramatically increase impressions without any conversion.
They are often described as factories that localize and control “clickwork” and operate in a sweatshop manner. They employ low-paid, low-skilled resources in large-scale attacks to keep costs down and preserve return on investment. Thousands or hundreds of individuals working from computer terminals, smartphones, tablets, or other gadgets make up the click farm.
Click farms can be run as a company providing a range of digital engagement services or as an individual corporation to multiply clicks for various objectives. They are usually paid a predetermined amount to perform the same activity repeatedly.
Click farm platforms promise clicks to their customers for a price. And then outsource these tasks to workers for less than a penny per task.
Even though click farms are a rapidly expanding sector that may directly wreck the budget of an entire advertising campaign and are also to blame for widespread fraudulent clicks, they are not currently illegal.
There are no laws prohibiting click farms anywhere in the world.
However the use of these clicks to either inflate your website clicks (Inflationary click fraud) or deplete a rival’s ad budget (competitive click fraud) is illegal. See examples of click fraud lawsuits here.
Hence the problem of click farms continues to remain a delicate topic.
Technics used by click farms.
In contrast to malicious bots and spammers that simulate human activity, click farm employees are involved in visiting webpages and simply clicking on ad campaigns.
The majority of click farming techniques are extremely basic. Employees simply click a link repeatedly.
To deplete ad revenues, low-paid employees manually click on advertisements. Workers have ready access to stacks of electrical equipment that may be switched out as needed.
Some typical forms of click farm fraud include clicking on links, browsing the target websites for a predetermined time, and even signing up for newsletters. Click farms are also used on social networking sites to create phony followers and likes.
It can be challenging for automated filters to detect such mimicked traffic as fake, as the audience behavior looks identical to that of a real, genuine audience.
Usually, the best way to detect if you are being click-farmed or click farms are exhausting your advertising budget is to monitor traffic patterns. Click farms frequently follow a similar pattern when they “click” on an ad.
They extensively share similar features such as the same IP address, network speed across devices, geolocation, browser versions, etc.
Click farms can be identified by detecting interactions from the same region.
Check your engagement analytics if you notice clicks coming from specific regions, and they all follow the same pattern. Typically, you’ll be able to see how your ads perform across all the platforms you serve your ads on.
A spike in traffic, a high CTR, but no conversions could indicate a click farm attack.
Restricting the visibility of ad campaigns to viewers in locations known for click farms will help you obtain the desired outcome on your advertisement. Across each ad network, you could easily configure this setting.
You can also blacklist specific known fraudulent IP addresses and prevent them from viewing your ads.
Blocking a specific IP address or group of addresses if you observe unusual incoming traffic from them is the simplest way to get rid of fake clicks.
You can achieve this easily by using a click fraud protection software such as ClickPatrol
There are two sides to this strategy. Whilst still removing illegitimate traffic by incorporating time-consuming CAPTCHA tasks for human verification and questions that demand entire concentration in your links as well as surveys, it might also turn away genuine responders.
However, Since many click farms must reach a quota, they are more prone to become irritated and leave your ads in pursuit of simpler targets.
Click farms give forth small yet observable indicators of activity. Exporting and analyzing false data patterns from several other applications and sites is yet another method you can employ to identify click farms and false engagement sites
There are situations when the publishers or supply-side platforms you use patronize click farms, which are sapping your advertising budget. These networks promote ad space with the promise of high traffic, clicks, views, and impressions to support user engagement.
Instead, the traffic they advertise is generated by click farms. Engaging only with ad networks and publishers who utilize ads.txt can help you avoid this scheme.