Whether it’s buying or researching, consumers and businesses are doing more online than ever before. Running PPC campaigns has become a critical part of business today. Unfortunately though, running successful campaigns isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
Aside from perfecting your targeting and other ad elements, there are competitors to worry about. One of the biggest threats to PPC campaigns is click fraud, which most people think Google is protecting them from. But are they doing enough?
Let’s Talk Fraud
Before diving in, here’s a brief rundown of click fraud and why it’s so important for search engines to protect your campaigns.
Click fraud is a practice competitors use to run you out of the marketplace, and is done by clicking on your ads for the purpose of draining your ad budget. Clicks can be done by a person, a bot, or a click farm. It’s gotten so bad that an estimated 90% of all campaigns suffer from click fraud, and the general consensus is that up to 20% of a company’s total advertising budget gets wasted on fraudulent clicks.
How do you know if you’re suffering from click fraud? You’ll see abnormally high CTRs, your spend will rise, and there will be very few conversions. If you’re advertising on a major search engine like AdWords, you are probably a victim of click fraud.
How Google Protects You From Click Fraud
You may be ready to lose hope on your campaigns and cut your ad budget after reading this, but don’t. Definitely still run PPC campaigns, and we’ll go as far as to say you should increase your spend. Here’s why.
Google, being a top search engine, wants your business. So to keep you and other advertisers happy, AdWords’ Ad Traffic Quality Team works to detect and handle potentially invalid clicks. Some of the types of clicks that AdWords considers to be invalid are:
- Clicks that provide no value, like the second click of a double-click
- Manual clicks that aim to increase someone’s advertising costs
- Clicks and impressions by automated tools, bots, or other software
In order to filter out invalid interactions, the AdWords Ad Traffic Quality Team examines every interaction on an ad. The team looks at various data points. These include time of the interaction, IP address, if there are duplicate interactions, and other patterns and trends.
After Invalid Clicks are Detected
AdWords will filter out click before they reach your account reports if they are considered invalid. Additionally, if you think AdWords missed fraudulent clicks on your account, you can have the team investigate, and they will process your request within a few days. If the clicks are in fact found to be fraudulent, AdWords will reimburse your account, but only 2-3 weeks after the fraud took place and if you claim it. The immediate result of this, is that your ad budget would be exhausted. Your ad would also not be online for a few hours or days. Additionally, Google’s click fraud criteria are identical for each and every advertiser. So while 10 clicks from the same IP address in a period of a day is completely normal for one advertiser, another might see it as click fraud.
At the end of the day, Google is Google, and everyone is there, which means you need to be there too. Google has practices in place to protect your PPC campaigns, but only minimally. Since click fraud is still a problem, it seems their system could be doing a better job. The best practice to protect your PPC campaigns against click fraud is to have a layered approach.
Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
Google’s click fraud protection simply isn’t enough and doesn’t have enough customization options. Getting the most out of your ads requires more.
If you’re frustrated with your PPC campaigns like many advertisers and SMBs out there, try ClickCease – it integrates with Google Adwords campaigns to stop click fraud automatically, and is currently protecting over 274,000 campaigns in 181 countries. The algorithm monitors each and every click to collect valuable data, detects real potential customers from fraudulent ones, and blocks fraudulent clicks when detected. Even better? ClickCease will hide an ad from the fraudster if and when it detects a fraudulent click. It’s not only complementary, but crucial to your business’ efforts.
Real Clicks and Beyond
Just as the internet is forever evolving, so is competition; whether it’s real people clicking your ads or bots. Advertisers need to stay sharp and on their toes, and when more protection than Google AdWords’ offering is needed, they turn to ClickCease.