A recent report into fraudulent clicks on Google Ads revealed some startling figures. PPC Protect, in their first ever annual report, found that a massive 36% of Display campaign clicks were fraudulent or invalid in 2020. Furthermore, the report stated that this figure was at 11% for Search campaigns and that only 13% of all accounts that the report looked at reported no fraudulent or invalid activity.
Most worryingly, the report concluded that these figures represented significant increases on 2019’s figures - suggesting that Google is losing the battle against fraudulent clicks. The team at PPC Protect analysed data encompassing 1 billion ad clicks when compiling these findings.
Google itself defines invalid clicks as “clicks on ads that Google considers to be illegitimate, such as unintentional clicks or clicks resulting from malicious software.”
Click fraud occurring in your Google Ads account could result in:
Based on PPC Protect’s report: not enough! This is a little unfair, as bots are becoming ever more sophisticated at bypassing preventative measures. Google are transparent in their efforts to fight back against click fraud.
As the report shows however, fraudulent clicks seem to be on the rise. So what can you do to safeguard your account from click fraud?
Below are our tips to combatting click fraud yourself.
If you don’t understand your traffic, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the unusual trends that could be the result of invalid clicks. Study your traffic regularly, from volume to user behaviour, to individual campaign and segment performance.
Driving traffic is easy. Driving high-quality traffic is much harder. Focus on quality, not quantity by focusing on high intent keywords, rather than broad, general keywords associated with really high traffic levels.
You’re not going to convert on your own site and you’ll likely skew the click-through rate, nevermind wasting the budget. A site owner clicking on their own ad is going to behave the same as a clickbot by making no meaningful actions on the site once they’ve clicked.
Ensure your ads are only eligible to appear to users in your target area, or users regularly in your targeted areas. Many clickbots are located in countries like Russia and India. Ensuring your ads can’t appear here is one way to avoid fraudulent clicks.
Google Ads allows for specific IP addresses to be blacklisted by your campaigns, meaning they can’t trigger or click your ads. If your technical team can identify the IP addresses behind suspected fraudulent clicks, such as a devious competitor, then they can be blacklisted via the Google Ads interface.
If you don’t have the time to do all of this on a regular basis, hire an agency to do it for you. It’s in our interest to ensure that behind every click is a real, life customer ready to convert.
Aside from these measures, special attention oughta be paid to any Display campaigns that you run. Many websites across the Google Display Network are low quality, spammy websites. Clicks on your banner image ads when they appear on these sites may not be classified as fraud, but they might as well be for all the value (0) that they bring.
Prevent your ads from appearing on certain site categories (ie sensitive website) and monitor your Placements report to block your Display ads from showing up on any low quality websites.
To conclude, Google Ads click fraud is very real. Display advertisers in particular need to explore ways to combat against it, considering more than a third of Display clicks may not be genuine. Search is not immune either and the vast majority of accounts seem to suffer invalid clicks to some degree. Fight it successfully and you’ll safeguard budget for real users and get a truer version of how your website actually performs.
You need help to prevent Google Ads click fraud or you need more informations ? Go on Donutz Digital website ! Experts in PPC, Google Ads and SEO.
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