Why DO You Need Google Ads Fraud Protection?

Abisola Tanzako | Aug 09, 2023

Online advertising is a big deal! Over $330 billion was estimated to be spent on digital advertising platforms such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook in 2019. According to research done by CHEQ in 2020, the amount wasted on ad fraud was $35 billion, which is projected to increase in the coming years. This implies that such a large portion of the advertising pie is being eaten up by ad fraud.

Running a successful Google Ads campaign is hard work. Beyond getting your campaigns up and running, managing them, and running conversion optimization tests, there is still a possibility that you have to deal with ad fraud, even if you’re doing everything by the book.

Search Engine Journal recently reported that 11% of the search ad clicks and 36% of the display ad clicks were fraudulent or invalid after examining nearly 1 billion ad clicks and 100 billion data points. Another estimate puts ad fraud costs in the US alone at about $13.8 billion in 2020.

The question of how to prevent Google Ads fraud is not new, but as digital advertising budgets increase and the demand for solutions increases, so do the ways to combat it.

In this article, we will be discussing Ad fraud and the best way to tackle it.

What is Ad Fraud?

Ad fraud is the attempt to defraud any digital advertising or ad tech platform for monetary gain. The various types of ad fraud will make publishers or advertisers think that increased activity on their ads is from genuine users when it is from fake users whose ultimate goal is to drain the revenue of advertisers.

As mentioned earlier, there are various ways in which fraudsters carry out ad fraud. Some of these methods include:

  • Hidden ads: this ad is displayed so the users don’t see it. This fraud targets ad networks that generate revenue based on impressions (views), not clicks.
  • Click hijacking: In this fraud, attackers redirect the clicks on one ad to a different ad, successfully stealing the clicks. For this attack to work, the fraudster has to find a way to compromise the ad publisher’s webpage, the user’s computer, or a proxy server.
  • Fake app installation: ads are displayed within applications, especially on mobile apps. For this fraud style, a group of people (mostly click farms) mostly- a click farm is a group of people who are paid lowly to click continuously on targeted ads at the instruction of a fraudster) interact with an installed app multiple times.
  • Botnet ad fraud: fraudsters use botnets to generate thousands of clicks on an ad. Bot-driven ad fraud works in the following ways:
    • Fraudsters use click bots to generate fake clicks on their ads to generate income.
    • Click bots are created to imitate real users and are often distributed across devices in a botnet—a botnet is a group of devices a fraudster has compromised. This way, when they click on an ad, they appear like a real user since the clicks come from different IPAs.

How does Ad Fraud affect your Ads?

If you have ever wondered if ad fraud affects the industry you belong to, then the answer is yes, it does. If your industry is competitive in Google ads and pay-per-click searches, then the likelihood of experiencing ad fraud is higher.

You may ask, How much would ad fraud cost you? There are several factors to consider to be sure how much ad fraud costs you, but on average, it could cost you 10-12% of your ad budget. For instance, if your monthly ad budget is $10,000, you could be wasting up to $1500 on ad fraud each month. 

Google and other search engines have established structures to help defend its ad system against invalid activity. Still, it is not doing enough to curb the effect of ad fraud and is also putting a lot of responsibility on advertisers/publishers to monitor and prevent fraud from invading their ads.

Effects of ad fraud on your campaign

Here are some of the effects of ad fraud on your campaign

  • Unnecessary charges: the most detrimental effect of ad fraud is the excessive charges that come with it. If curbed quickly, it could save your campaigns’ budgets.  
  • Flawed business insight: when your Google campaign is infested by ad fraud, it lacks business insight. The data you are presented with is counterfeit, affecting any data-driven decision you want to make. This fake data usually harms your campaign metrics, as it will steer your plan in the wrong direction.
  • Exhausting future ad budget: it is no news that ad fraud will run out of your current campaign budget, but apart from that, the data you receive is manipulated, influencing your future marketing strategy. As a result of this distorted data, your future campaign budget could be better spent. 
  • Reaching the daily limit of a campaign: many people and companies place a daily limit on their pay-per-click ads. When fraudulent activities are active on your page, you reach their daily limit quickly without benefiting your business. Your ad is removed once your limit is gone and your competitors surface in place of yours.

The truth is, without a solid solution to ad fraud, the fraudulent activities on your campaigns will cause so much damage to your business and have long-term damage to your company’s ROI and overall growth.

Ad fraud prevention

The most effective and efficient way to protect your ad campaign from all the various forms of ad fraud is by using fraud protection software such as ClickPatrol

How does fraud protection software work?

A standard fraud protection software should be able to use:

  •  Algorithm to analyze active data points and determine if they are legitimate or illegitimate activities.
  • Determine if an IP address is fraudulent or not, immediately block those that are fraudulent, and stop them from clicking on your ad from now on.

With some of these features and more, you can get a cleaner ad campaign, less waste, and a better ROI.

Do note that no single fraud detection software can eliminate ALL ad fraud. You must identify the specific need before getting detection software. 

Can I prevent ad fraud Myself?

Yes, You can try. But be prepared for quite a tedious, time-consuming, Sisyphean task of monitoring every click and steadily adding IP addresses to your filtering. Not only is this method extremely intensive, but it is just the type of work better suited to a software algorithm.

Beyond the proficiency factor of ClickPatrol, we also have a growing global blacklist of suspicious accounts and IPA to protect you and your campaign better. These are associated with botnets, click farms or other types of threats that we block before a click can occur.

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