Why Competitive Click Fraud Exists and Its Implication for Businesses

Abisola Tanzako | Jan 21, 2023

Business competition existed way before businesses moved online. Brick-and-mortar stores are known for using various strategies to fight rivals and bring in more customers, including reduced prices, freebies, and even the use of storefront mascots.

Competitive rivalry, despite its advantages to customers, can be harmful to business owners. Businesses are forced to try and outsmart their competitors and many small businesses just do not have the resources to do this.

With digital marketing, some brands have resorted to a competitive strategy called click fraud. Click fraud is not uncommon and may be a more significant threat than business owners are aware of.

Competitors occasionally turn to click fraud to get an advantage over their rivals, particularly in highly competitive industries. They drain a company’s Pay-Per-Click revenue by frequently clicking on competitors’ ads deliberately to block the visibility of those adverts to prospective clients.

What Is Competitive Click Fraud

When a competitor clicks on your online ads in sponsored search results without the intention to buy, this is known as competitor click fraud.

Competitors are notorious for attempting to use up their rival’s ad budgets without any intention to purchase. Once a rival’s ad budget is depleted, their ads are taken down, leaving the competitors’ ads running. This inadeptly increases their ad budgets and reduces their profit.

In 2004, John Carreras, president of Impact Displays, returned from a trade fair to discover that his ad expenses had been reduced by 50%. He then deduced that his competitors had been too busy with the trade show to click on his ad.

Adversary competitive click fraud is especially detrimental to small firms because they have limited advertising resources. This significantly reduces their ability to meet their customers and make any sale or profit.

Additionally, invalid traffic can contaminate your target audiences, dramatically modify your feature concepts, and distort your automation algorithms, all of which will diminish the effectiveness of your overall business (Pay per click) campaign.

Competitor brands often employ other corporations, botnets or click farms to falsely click on ad campaigns and deplete rivals’ Pay-per-click budget, eliminating them from the competition so that their ads appear earlier in the digital marketing thread.

Why Competitive Click Fraud Exist

Competitive click fraud’s ultimate objective is to drain your pay-per-click campaign budget and diminish your brand’s capacity to contend in the ad market places. 

Fraudulent competitors raise the cost of a target keyword you pay for while draining your PPC campaign budget with pointless clicks by engaging in click fraud.

You may be forced out of the market if you are not competitive and need more resources to generate authentic traffic.

Competitors turn to click fraud to get an advantage over their rivals, particularly in highly competitive industries. They drain a company’s PPC revenue by frequently clicking on competitors’ ads to block the visibility of those adverts to prospective customers.

A PPC campaign that is not well protected will continue to display on SERPs until its daily expenditure is exhausted, making it easy for fraudsters to execute this kind of fraud.

In this situation, competitors would click on your advertising campaign repeatedly from a web browser or may hire third parties to orchestrate thousands of clicks on several devices until the limit is reached.

How To Prevent Competitive Click Fraud

Competitive click fraud can be characterized by a significant frequency of clicks originating from the same IP address or maybe even a similar IP region with almost no time spent on the website and no conversion. 

A high volume of clicks from various devices with hardly any digital traces arriving from places other than your target regions, or clicks for particular target keywords originating from the same IP Address are often signs that your campaign is under attack.

You can implement automated procedures to minimize click fraud and prevent budget wastage in this situation. Here are 5 ways to achieve this;

Configure IP address and internet service provider exclusions

By banning or blacklisting particular IP addresses, especially those known to perpetuate click fraud, your advertising will not appear prone to competitive Click fraud and will not be an open target for PPC campaign fraudsters.

Redirect your advertising budget

Retarget campaigns that exclusively target those who have clearly expressed interest in your services or activities. You can optimize your ad targeting, particularly by geographical location, to limit the possibility of competition clicks and invalid visitors on your advertising campaigns.

The more targeted your advertisements are, the more likely they will be successful and reduce their vulnerability to click fraud.

Customize your ad campaigns only to display across trusted, high-value websites

You can build up ad campaigns using Google and other similar providers that only show advertising on the websites you specify, avoiding sites that will make your ad campaign vulnerable to competitive click fraud and where fraudulent revenue generation could also occur.

Pay close attention to your competitors

Maintain a close watch on the search engine competitors for your keywords because they may serve as a source of competitor click fraud. It is common knowledge that colleagues contending for your exact keywords or campaign would click your adverts to advance their marketing.

Get Click Fraud Protection Software

The most effective way to protect your campaigns is by using click fraud protection software such as ClickPatrol.

ClickPatrol uses superior technology to predict, detect and block fraudulent clicks on your PPC campaigns. We help you save money, maximize your ad spend and increase conversions.

ClickPatrol also provides in-depth insights into clicks and visitor behavior on your website using our advanced reports.

Investigating competitive click fraud activities is both expensive and time-consuming. In addition, you will most likely already suffer losses by the time notice questionable activity.

ClickPatrol provides proactive (blocking known fraudulent IPs before they find your ads) and reactive (blocking clicks after they have been screened and found fraudulent) protection for your campaigns.

The implication Of Competitive Click Fraud For Businesses,

Healthy competition is good; it keeps brands on their toes and helps them deliver the best value to their customers. 

However, business owners must prevent spiteful and brand-damaging competitive strategies such as competitive click fraud.

Several examples of competitive click fraud exist, and business owners have lost several millions to this practice. And the truth remains that there’s no sign of this practice ceasing anytime in the foreseeable future. 

Your advertising revenue is at stake as these fraudulent individuals get more sophisticated. 

Therefore, the responsibility lies on business owners to properly safeguard their campaigns and investments using strategies discussed in this article.

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