The Importance of Detecting Click Fraud Activity by Monitoring Clicks from Your Google Ads Campaigns
No marketer in 2021 can afford to ignore the facts: there has been an extreme rise in global digital advertising fraud from $19 billion in 2018 which is expected to grow to a whopping $44 billion by 2022. It seems no matter how hard you try to shake it off, the world of online advertising which includes Google Ads campaigns, PPC and paid social advertising, is going to continue to be the target of digital ad fraud.
There’s no wonder. While digital advertising spending has maybe slowed down since 2016, it is still predicted to reach over $375 billion by 2021. After an extremely tumultuous 2020, only two formats managed to overcome the effects of the pandemic and remain on top: social media and paid search. In fact, ad spending in the Search Advertising segment is projected to reach over $67 million this year led by Google Ads, the biggest provider of search advertising on the market. This is where ad fraud comes into play, having surpassed the credit card fraud industry, stealing 20%, which comes to $66 billion, in global online ad spending.
This means only one thing in regard to marketers: if you don’t have an ad fraud detection system in place, you are going to lose money and moreover, you most likely have already lost significant amounts of money without having realized that you have.
While investing your time and money in PPC and Google Ads campaigns is crucial to your success so is protecting your ads while boosting your ROIs (return-on-investment). This is why it’s so important that you monitor clicks from your Google Ads campaigns to detect and prevent fraudulent activity and stop click frauds that could be extremely harmful to your brand.
What is Click Fraud?
In order to understand why it’s so vital that you protect your Google campaigns with the help of a click fraud service you first need to understand how click fraud comes into play in your marketing strategy and how it became a powerful and destructive force against businesses. In a nutshell, click fraud is when someone clicks on your online advertisement with malicious intent. This can mean without them having any intention to buy your product or service, or with them having a clear intent to remove your ad from the search engine results or divert your ad spend to a third party. When it comes down to it, click fraud can potentially cause your company severe financial harm, damage the reach and performance of your ad, create irrelevant and fraudulent lead traffic on your analytics reports, and steal the cost of the click. Scammers can also set up sites that display ads and use click bots to “click” on the ads, causing the ad network to pay the website operator, i.e. the fraudsters themselves.
If that isn’t bad enough, the criminal minds behind the click farm industry set out not only to crush your marketing budget but to destroy your business completely. If you’ve set up a certain amount of clicks you’re aiming for each day, a scammer can drain your daily budget by providing fake leads and clicks, causing your competitors to benefit from the remaining clicks at your expense.
Click fraudsters can either be organized masterminds who’ve figured out a way to get paid by clicking on your Google Ads or bots specifically created to collect the payout from your ads. Automated setups known as click farms are used by different businesses as a way to inflate their engagement rates or the number of followers and you should be wary of vengeful competitors or even consumers who have a personal vendetta to negatively impact your ad spend and your budget. Looking at click fraud statistics puts things into perspective: with less than 60% of web traffic being human, you could be losing 70% of your marketing budget to fraudulent bots.
Google Ads Campaigns
It was back in 2000 when Google revolutionized the way in which businesses market and advertise themselves when it launched its Google Premium Sponsorships and AdWords platforms. The first asked advertisers to pay to have their company appear at the top of Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis, whereas AdWords enabled businesses to promote their adverts as text banners on the side of the Google search result bar. Three years in, Google launched their AdSense platform to let businesses host advertising on their site making money from clicks and views. This meant that even informational sites and blogs could make money by hosting ads on their sites.
Fast forward to 2021. With 3.5 billion daily search queries on Google and over 85% of the total searches worldwide being performed on Google, there really isn’t a question when it comes to whether you should be advertising on the platform. They say that with great power comes great responsibility, and since Google and Facebook hold the largest share of total digital ad spending in the US, with 37.2% and 19.6% respectively, they are also a prime target for fraudsters.
The Google Ads system is based on an auction system rewarding high-quality ads with lower costs and better ad placement with the average CPC (cost-per-click) costing between $1 and $2 on the Search Network. Most small businesses are said to earn an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on Google AdWords and spend between $9,000 and $10,000 per month from their marketing budget on their Google Ads.
With so much money being spent on the platform, setting up a Google click fraud protection system is essential, not to mention necessary. Back in 2017, nearly 40% of ad impressions served programmatically in the US were fraudulent and Japan recorded the highest number of ad fraud rates at the time.
Monitoring Your Google Ads
Knowing exactly who it is that is clicking on your ads is the best way for you to protect yourself from click fraud. There could be several possible culprits as mentioned before, and you want to know exactly whether it is your competitors, click farms or bots that are causing your grief. In order to block them, you have to work with a professional click fraud prevention software that knows exactly how to analyze and track each click according to the following criteria: IP address, unique device ID, network service providers, VPN providers, Proxy servers, geolocation, keywords, time spent on your page and on-page user behavior.
That’s where we come into the picture. Clixtell offers several protective features to ensure your Google Ads campaigns remain safe. We use a sophisticated algorithm and tech solutions to protect your ads as well as your company and budget from scammers while increasing your ROI rates. We offer several services, including a 24/7 click fraud detection service, actively monitoring traffic from your Google Ads campaigns, searching for any fishy activity; automated click fraud protection that looks into every click, immediately blocking invalid clicks activity; and a website video recorder that helps you better understand your visitors’ behavior and gain insights regarding your ads.
There’s no doubt the world of online advertising and Google Ads campaigns can seem overwhelming, particularly when you take into account all the different fraudulent scammers out to get you, but when you work alongside a Google Ads click fraud protection service, the only people (or bots) that should be worried are those committing click fraud.