You may already be familiar with the idea of click fraud, but if you are not, you can catch up here.
As a marketer, above knowing what click fraud is, you must also be able to monitor, prevent and eliminate click fraud.
Some pay-per-click marketers think click fraud is not as rampant as it used to be, but unfortunately, click fraud is still rampant and keeps growing year in and year out.
What Is Click Fraud
Click fraud is a type of ad fraud, and the goal of click fraud is to create interaction with ads online without having an interest in conversions. For instance, click fraud can be done by competitors who intend to drain the ad budget of their opponents or greedy publishers who want to earn more.
Though very rare, some invalid clicks are without malicious intent; these clicks are from good bots. For instance, web scrapers can look for significant ad spend costs from incessant clicks for advertisers despite no particular targeting or malicious intent.
To further understand this, let’s give the practical example of a PPC marketer looking for a landing page with a specific keyword; for this to be done, Google loads a search, locates the ads, clicks on them, and pops it up. This click costs the advertiser their budget, but it is a click without malicious intent though technically it is still an invalid click and can be classified as click fraud,
Why is Click Fraud Monitoring Important?
The impact of click fraud can be a lot, but the most damaging effect of click fraud is financial damage. The budget for ads is wasted on invalid clicks, and there is a low conversion rate; this decides on data complicated to make in media marketing ads because fake users begin to infiltrate your media funnel, and you are left wondering and questioning every piece of data you see if they are legitimate or not? Is your ad going to actual people or not? The impact of click fraud can be a lot, penetrating from finance to operation to marketing; thus, routinely monitoring your ads for click fraud will greatly save your business.
How To Monitor Click Fraud
Now that we understand that click fraud can penetrate and impact significantly any advertisement out there, it is pertinent to discuss how to monitor the extent to which your ad is affected by clicks and how to prevent it from causing more damage.
Below are ways to effectively monitor and prevent click fraud. This might not cover all monitoring methods, but it will help you understand if your ad is explicitly targeted.
- Check Your Conversion Rates Regularly.
When your ad is targeted by click fraud, there is always unusual user behaviour. You can check the following on any ad you want to review specifically to ascertain this.
- Compare and contrast the conversation rate of the specific ads with other ads on your website. If the rates are higher than the others and the conversion turnover is lower, it can mean you have a fraudulent conversion taking place.
- Compare and contrast the conversion rate against the average returns in your industry.
- Take note of the historical trends in conversion rates. Is the spike peculiar to a specific time? Usually, an ad hit by click fraud fluctuates seriously. The rates can go from 4% to 35% and then back to 4% within a few days.
- Check Your Bounce Rate
Ads with a very high level of click fraud will naturally have a high-level bounce rate. This is because most of the click fraud is bot by bots and cannot mimic human behaviour, so when they click on your ad, it bounces back. Here is what to do:
- Log into any analytic platform you are using
- Find the landing page for the ad in question
- Put in a segment the traffic from your organic and PPC users, then compare the bounce rate. Usually, organic traffic will be smaller, but there is high variation and something wrong.
- Check Your Click Through Rate(CTR)
Malicious clicks automatically mean a high click-through rate. Although this doesn’t always happen, if an ad typically has a low CTR, it can be upgraded to a ‘normal’ CTR when malicious click fraud activity occurs. Check your CTR by:
- Monitor the CTR of your ads. Notice when it is spiking.
- Compare and contrast CTR on your ad to similar ads. Notice if there is a significant difference.
- Check your CTR against the average of your industry.
- Check For Submissions, Comments And User Accounts
If your website is such that you are collecting data from forms or comments submitted, you can check the timestamp against your paid search activities. If you see a high increase in dormant conditions and user account which coincide with the PPC activity, you may have just spotted a click fraud activity.
- Fetch For IPAs From Server Log
If you have been able to detect fraudulent click fraud activities on your ad, do something about it, and one of the things you can do about it is to go into your server log. Download your server log, and search for any suspicious activity. When you have successfully identified the suspicious IPAs, put them on the exclusion list.
- Use Automated Click Fraud Protection
All of the above might sound like too much talk, and even if you have an analysis team that does all of these, they may still need help to carry out these tasks effectively. If you are very committed to eliminating click fraud, looking into automated protection solutions is essential. Since it is a computerized process, the click fraud detection process is seamless and allows the smooth removal of fraudulent traffic at every level of your PPC funnel. This automated protection makes your website safe from every form of click fraud and its potential damage.
The best way to monitor and stop click fraud altogether is by using Click Fraud Protection tools such as ClickPatrol. With ClickPatrol, you automate the monitoring of your campaigns. Each click on your ad is thoroughly screened for characteristics of fraud, and fraudulent clicks can be blocked.
You can turn on monitoring-only mode to monitor your campaigns and not make changes to Google ads.