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Click Fraud – The silent campaign killer

Every time you check your search campaign analytics, you feel something is off. You just can’t put your finger on it, but you do know that:

  • The phone ain’t ringing as it used to
  • You are getting fewer conversions for the same money you are spending
  • Your potential leads are “magically” uninterested in your business

More often than not, Click Fraud is the cause for these issues, but fear not, by following some simple steps you can beat this phenomenon

OK, so…how do I prevent PPC click fraud?

The first thing you need to understand is that click fraud is all around you and everyone has some click fraud on their campaigns (and I am not referring to the invalid clicks you may be getting at the end of the month)

Here are the key steps you should be taking to beat click fraud.

1. Monitor your IP’s

2. Understand & Control lead clicking behavior

3. Use an anti click fraud service

 

Let’s get started then shall we:

 

1. Monitoring your IP’s

Think of the person committing the click fraud as a sniper. He is targeting your keywords and brand name on the search engine you are advertising on (normally Adwords or Bing right?) and he pulls the trigger every time he sees your ad. However your sniper (cunning as he may be), has left some smoke from where he took his shot, and by monitoring your campaign IP’s you will be able to catch that smoking gun.

If you an IP that is clicking on your campaign over and over again, you know that it needs to be checked. Some nonmalicious reasons for multiple IP clicks in a short time frame could be:

  1. An employee/your spouse (maybe even you) that is clicking on your ad without noticing that it is costing you money
  2. A lead is doing massive amounts of research about your service
  3. Your client has 1 corporate IP and has multiple buyers searching for you

How do I monitor my IP’s? Well, Google do not help you with this (they only let you exclude specific IP’s from your targeting), There are multiple services that let you monitor clicks, however monitoring alone isn’t helpful, you need to make sure these services can also let you understand and control the clicking behavior…what does this mean? Read more:

 

2. Understand and control Lead clicking behavior:

Understanding your lead:

Every vertical of business needs to fill a completely different set of lead needs and lead research. Let’s look at 2 completely different set of leads. Take for instance a lead “A” searching for a locksmith and a lead “B” in need of a DUI Lawyer (I’d much rather be lead A ). lead “A”  forgot his keys and he is stuck outside his house. How many minutes of research do you think he will go through searching for a locksmith service in his area? How many different ads from different services do you suppose he will click on in the search for that glorious key? Probably not too many due to the urgency factor. Now, what about the poor schmuck that needs the lawyer? Now it’s true… not all lawyers are made the same (somehow this post completely went towards bashing lawyers…) and that the urgency factor may be completely different for the assortment of different lawyers.

For instance, a lead searching for a DUI lawyer is not going to have the same urgency of the lead searching for a Tax lawyer. I don’t know much about tax lawyers, if you are a tax lawyer then answer this. How many days will a lead research your name or firm? How many times will he click on your ads? What is his urgency level in comparison with the lead searching for the locksmith? In addition to urgency, there are multiple other factors that define the behavior of the lead. Would you agree that someone searching for a locksmith should not be clicking on an ad on Sunday 5 times and on Tuesday another 4 times? Understanding your lead behavior will let you identify fraudulent IP’s.

Controlling lead clicking behavior:

Understanding is useless if you can’t do something about this behavior. You have understood what your click threshold is but how do you actually block. The old way of stopping unwanted lead behavior AKA: Fraudulent Clicks was by learning about the bad IP’s after the fact and then scurry to add them into the AdWords campaign. This is the old way as advertisers really didn’t save themselves much of their ad spend if at all, why?  When fraud occurs it can be swift click fraud – 25 clicks within 1 hour and it can be chronic click fraud, 13 clicks over 3 days. In both ways analyzing the data manually and changing your campaign manually would need you to have a full-time employee just dealing with click fraud. And still this would be much less preferable than the new way, which brings me to:

3. Use an anti-click fraud service:

If the old way of blocking is manual, then naturally, the new way is automated. Automatic IP blocking means that the fraudulent IP’s are stopped immediately by linking your campaign with an anti-click fraud business. Often the bad IP’s don’t even have a chance to click on a campaign even once since there are also blacklists of common offenders that can be used. The beauty with dealing with an automated service is that one doesn’t need to be spending endless hours monitoring and controlling/blocking clicks. The fraudsters don’t get to see your ads and if they do it will be for just as many times as you set in your threshold.


 

Fighting click fraud in a nut shell

Fighting click fraud is practically impossible without using an automated service. Monitoring and understanding click fraud is important for the third and most important step of auto-blocking the click fraud. ClickCease is on the cutting edge of monitoring and IP auto-blocking.