What is click fraud

Abisola Tanzako | Oct 24, 2022

The phrase “click fraud” is well-known among pay-per-click (PPC) experts, advertisers, and online marketers. It’s one of several obstacles to successfully managing a PPC campaign. 

With over 2 billion of the roughly 4 billion individuals who use the internet daily to make purchases, a well-targeted PPC campaign can mean a lot to your brand.

With such a high volume of visitors and revenue, fraud is an obvious pick. And click fraud has surpassed credit card fraud to become the most expensive type of fraud perpetrated annually.

Advertising is about value.

The end goal of every advertiser who puts out an advert is the value their business receives from the ad. This value could be in the form of the following;

  • brand recognition from impressions in the traditional advertising model (PPM),
  • Engagement in the form of clicks in the pay-per-click model (PPC) and
  • Action, e.g., a purchase, a phone call, or filling out a form in the pay-per-action model (PPA).

Every valid click indicates a user’s interest in the advertiser’s goods and services. This allows the advertiser to deliver value.

Click Fraud is regarded as the advertiser’s nightmare because it steals this opportunity from advertisers while eating away at their ad budget. 

At least 14% of all clicks on internet ads are related to this total nightmare.

For most businesses, digital marketing, especially the pay-per-click model, has replaced traditional forms of promotion. Everyone can equally benefit from having access to a sizable market online, from tiny businesses to multinational corporations. 

Sadly, this has become a tool in the hands of scammers and fraudsters used to hurt others.

So what exactly is click fraud? No need to contemplate; we’re here to provide you with the answer. This post will cover all you need to know about click fraud and how to prevent it.

What Is Click Fraud?

Click fraud occurs when people or automated programs purposefully click on a pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement without intending to purchase the advertiser’s products.

Fraudulent and unwanted clicks are one of the simplest methods to waste ad revenue because they create a false perception of the connection between clicks and purchases.

Click Fraud Conspirators

The conspirators of click fraud choose highly profitable, competitive sectors. The offenders frequently aim to profit from these sectors’ substantial paid media revenue.

It will help you comprehend those responsible for click fraud and what they aim to achieve to comprehend the various types of click fraud properly.

You may be paying for clicks that aren’t genuine if people (or bots) are clicking on your ads with the intent to defraud. As a result, your daily ad budget gets depleted, and your message may never get to your core audience.

Since bots perform these clicks, click fraud frequently occurs on a vast scale, and each advertisement is clicked multiple times through an automated procedure.

Listed below are some of the worst perpetrators of click fraud:


Click fraud is often committed by competitors of a firm that published the ad. In that situation, the perpetrator’s purpose is not to generate money for himself but to drain the advertising budget of the company that published the ads, giving the competition an advantage.

A competitor may click on a company’s online adverts to raise the price the company pays to search engines. Competitive click fraud can potentially drive a competing product out of the business if carried out effectively.


Another frequent instance of click fraud is publishers using bots to click on adverts on their websites to boost ad revenues.

Publishers with ad spots on their websites charge advertisers for each click from site visitors. However, the publishers take advantage of this by creating fraudulent clicks to boost revenue for their ads.

These fraudulent clicks are conducted by illegitimate site visitors or anyone without a genuine interest in the ad.  For this aim, a publisher may employ a click farm or a team to produce false clicks.

Types Of Click Fraud

For companies using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, click fraud is a growing concern.  Pay-per-click advertisements are exploited in various situations, giving the impression that many more users have clicked on ads than they did.

Simply creating a modest website, signing up as an ad publisher, and clicking on the ads to create revenue can constitute click fraud. The fraud frequently goes unnoticed because of the tiny number of clicks and their low worth. Small quantities of this clicking might be accidental, according to publishers, which is frequently the case. 

This action can become financially disastrous for a business over time and cause a sharp decline in a start-up business.

The types of click fraud that you should be aware of:

  1. Crowdsourcing Click Fraud

The oldest, most accessible, and most apparent form of click fraud is crowdsourcing click fraud. Crowdsourcing Click Fraud occurs when a website’s publisher requests that site users click on the ads. They frequently invite website visitors to “help this site by clicking these Ads” to receive funds from the Ads program for each click.

Many times, users who click on the adverts do so unintentionally. They may merely want to promote a website they like, unaware that their activities amount to click fraud.

Most ad networks prohibit this type of action.

  1. Click Farms Click Fraud

Here, individuals receive payment in exchange for continuously clicking on advertisements. Click farm operators teach their workers how to make their actions seem more “natural,”; thus,  they can better avoid detection by automatic filters when using actual persons rather than automated algorithms. 

The people paid to do this are located in underdeveloped nations where a lot of people need money and can be hired for very little pay.

Internet publishers can utilize click farms to boost their revenue, and businesses can hire them to click on their competitors’ ads and blow up their budgets.

  1. Bots Net Click Fraud

Another common type of click fraud is botnets. This kind of click fraud uses vast networks of malware-infected machines to carry out commands without the owner’s knowledge.

The bot network’s malicious user can direct the infected machines to visit specific websites and click on the adverts, resulting in many random clicks from various IP addresses.

How To Prevent Click Fraud

There are several measures you may take to help avoid click fraud, even if it might be challenging to identify. Although there is no foolproof method to stop click fraud, you can lessen its effects if you are aware of it.

Here are ways you can prevent click fraud.

  1. Monitor Your Traffic Sources

To look for questionable activity, you can see the IP address information of your ad clicks. One of the most apparent indications of click fraud is recurring clicks from areas where you don’t conduct business.

You can add IP addresses to an exclusion list in Google Ads if you’ve investigated your data and think that some of them are deliberately clicking on your ads.

  1. Optimize Your Ad Targeting

Limiting the exposure of your ads is one of the best methods to ensure prospective click fraud perpetrators don’t see them.

Concentrate on your target markets and narrow the advertising channel as tightly as possible. Your ad is more likely to attract fraudsters’ notice the more individuals outside your core demographic see it.

  1. Utilize Click Fraud Prevention Tools

Several different firms offer tools for preventing click fraud. Top search report providers can help you find any content-targeted websites generating a questionable number of visits to your website. Additionally, if you ever need to present evidence to a search engine company, they assist you in creating a fraud report.

It makes sense to invest in ad protection if you think click fraud is costing you a lot of money.

  1. Monitor Your Competitors

Keep an eye on the search engine competitors for your keywords because they could be a source of competitor click fraud.

Use click fraud protection software that monitors competitor clicks. Some of them provide free click tracking statistics that show the percentage of clicks on your advertisements that originate from competitor advertisers, bots, proxies, and other typical fraud types.

  1. Choose valuable websites to place your adverts on

The click fraud industry thrives on inferior websites. Any ad on such websites may be clicked by a human or a bot to increase the PPC earnings of the site’s owner. You can put in place ad campaigns with Google that only display advertising on the websites you designate and avoid websites where misleading revenue generation may take place.


A persistent issue in online advertising is click fraud. In pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, website owners are compensated according to the number of times visitors click on the ads on their web pages.

Cybercriminals can both waste advertisers’ PPC budgets and make money for website owners by utilizing bots to mimic real user behavior and click on adverts. Since bots perform these clicks, click fraud frequently occurs globally, and each advertisement is clicked multiple times through a software application.

You can contact the advertising network that manages your PPC ads and submit your findings if you believe you have been the victim of click fraud. This technique allows you to restore misleading clicks. The best defense, though, is prevention.

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