What_Is_Click_FraudWe have spent a lot of time writing and discussing the issue of fraud within the online advertising industry, specifically click fraud. If part of your advertising strategy is made up of PPC (pay-per-click) ads, then the primary concern you'll need to think about is click fraud - and the effect it could be having on your business success. Becoming a victim of click fraud means that your advertising budget quickly disappears, while potential customers are actually prevented from reaching your website.

For many small businesses, pay per click advertising is an attractive and useful marketing option. The reason for this is that it's often a fast and effective way for websites to generate traffic, boost their website ranking, and increase overall conversions. On top of that, pay per click ensures that you only have to pay for the clicks that you actually get. Although PPC can be a smart solution for website promotion, if you want your campaign to be successful, you'll need to be cautious when it comes to monitoring your PPC activity - or you could risk becoming yet another victim of click fraud.

What is Click Fraud?

Finding the right online advertising campaign is a complicated task - not only do you have to find a solution that fits in with your brand identity, marketing goals, and target market, but you also have to make sure that you get everything you need according to a pre-set budget. Pay per click advertisement is particularly useful in keeping costs low, and ensuring that you only pay for the engagement of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer - so long as you don't become a victim of click fraud.

Click fraud is the malicious and intentional miss-use of the PPC platform for search engine marketing. Often, it's an issue that takes place when a person uses manual clicks, or automated software to repeatedly access your PPC advertising with no intent to consider purchasing your services or products. The goal of this action is to drain your budget for PPC and drive up your costs, ensuring that you pay a lot of money for no real results. Obviously, fraud of this nature is a serious problem, as it threatens to eradicate all of the positive benefits you could otherwise gain through your advertising campaign. So how do you defend yourself against it?

Protection From Click Fraud

Currently, there's no sure-fire way of completely eliminating any risk that you might become a victim of click fraud. However, it is possible for companies and marketers to reduce the likelihood that such behavior will destroy their budget for advertising. According to numerous websites and marketing experts, techniques exist that can reduce your chances of falling victim to click fraud, as well as softening the blow should someone decide to target your advertising campaign.

The first tip is to set different bid prices for sites that are content-targeted. This simply means that you reduce your financial risk by limiting how much you're willing to pay for each click you actually get. You can limit your exposure to malicious individuals by reducing the amount of ads you place on "any" website that might be relevant to your keywords. Only opt for the websites that give you the best potential results.

Track Your Competitors And Your Campaigns

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The next step in defending yourself from fraud is monitoring the people who are competing with you when it comes to keywords and search engine rankings. Your competitors could be a key source of click fraud, and there are websites out there that will provide free tracking reports detailing the number of clicks your ads receive from certain sources, such as Click Defense and Ad Watcher. While you're watching your competitors, you should also be keeping an eye on your campaigns - as it's impossible to manage something that you aren't monitoring. Google offers advertisers the opportunity to make use of tools within the AdWords program such as Account Performance, and Campaign Performance. These two resources allow you to see the percentage of clicks that are defined by Google as "invalid", or potentially fraudulent.

Be Cautious About Where You Advertise

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If you're looking to gain local results from your PPC campaigns, then you can reduce your efforts to focus entirely on your particular geographical area. On the other hand, if you're searching for broader results, remember that countries with lower labor numbers tend to employ people specifically for the purpose of fraudulently clicking on advertisements. Try to avoid running your ads in countries where you might be spotted and victimized.

Similarly, try to remember that certain low-quality sites can be an ideal location for click fraud to take place. The more you advertise on low-quality sites, the more likely it is that a bot or person may start clicking fraudulently on your link to boost PPC revenues for that site's owner. Yahoo and Google both permit you to set up campaigns for advertisements that run specifically on certain websites, therefore helping you to avoid websites where unethical revenue generation may take place.

Topics: Click Fraud, Bot Traffic, Cost-Per-Click Advertising, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, SEM, Wasting Ad Budget, Ad Budget, Brand Safety, PPC Fraud

Scott Bagguley

Written by Scott Bagguley

Digital Sales @ ExactDrive. Has pain in his left-foot from power dunking. Owns salt water fish. Happily engaged.