5 Tips to Detect Click Fraud in Your Google Ads Campaigns
With over 63,000 search queries being processed by Google every second and 76% of the search engine market belonging to Google, there really is no doubt that if you want to make it big in any industry or business, you simply have to advertise using Google Ads.
Currently, there are 96% of brands spending money on Google Ads, making up most of Google’s annual revenue which reached a staggering $181.69 billion in 2020. There is no wonder then that Google themselves announced in their recent 2021 Annual Ads Safety Report that in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they witnessed “an uptick in opportunistic advertising and fraudulent behavior from actors looking to mislead users last year.”
Google even stated that some of the click fraud attempts they encountered were more devious than seen in the past, mentioning in the report that scammers used cloaking to hide from detection, promoted non-existent businesses online or ran ads for phone-based scams, which helped them hide their identities yet again as well as lure consumers off Google’s platforms so that they could defraud them.
So how can you protect Google Ads from click fraud? We’ve compiled a list of 5 tips each company needs to know in order to fend off unwanted attacks.
Tip #1: Medium to low clicks
Take into account that most click fraud on Google Ads come from your competitors who are trying to drive up your costs so that your budget will be shot. By clicking on your ads, they can spend your entire budget making your ad turn itself off to stop further clicks. This can help them up their Ad rank position as well as gain more clicks, exposure and traffic for free, all at your expense.
Tip #2: Unusually high CTR
You also need to watch out for unusually high numbers of clicks. If your CTR (click-through rates) as well as your conversion rates are going through the roof, remain vigilant. This could very well mean you’ve been the target of PPC click fraud on your Google Ads. These are done by professional fraudsters who target expensive keywords and use automated technology and clickbots to generate a surge in clicks, views and impressions that are all invalid clicks. Whether unusually low or high, note that both types of PPC click fraud have the same agenda of trying to drain your marketing budget. If you make sure to monitor your ad performance on a regular basis, these types of peaks shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Tip #3: Pay attention to peaks in impressions
If your ad has been viewed by a potential consumer, that’s an impression. Impressions are essential for spreading brand awareness and are perfect when it comes to CPM type campaigns (cost-per-thousand), which measure how many thousands of people viewed your ad. Tracking your impressions is essential when it comes to click fraud detection. If you notice that the number of times your ad appears on a search results page is unusually high, this may be a case of PPC click fraud.
Tip #4: A higher bounce rate
A bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who click on your ad only to leave it and go back to the search results page. If you notice an unusually high bounce rate, or rather a lack of increase in the amount of conversions or a decrease in page views during these types of impression peaks, your ads are most likely being targeted by fraudsters.
Tip #5: A strange surge in traffic
When it comes to tracking click fraud through your Google analytics, you’ll want to take a harder look and collect all the information you can get on visitors from the same IP address. Note the click timestamp and action timestamp (i.e, a sequence of coded information identifying on which date and precise time a certain event occurred). If you notice that the visits to your site are coming from an unusual location that doesn’t have anything to do with your target audience, this should raise a red flag.
What you can do
Monitoring and analyzing your Google Ads campaigns by yourself is possible but extremely time-consuming and tedious. Clixtell’s unique and sophisticated click fraud detection and protection features safeguard your Google Ads. Learn more about what we can do to help you detect invalid clicks as well as prevent click fraud to your campaigns so that you can focus on other elements of your marketing strategy.