Today, most companies are aware of just how useful PPC advertising can be to their overall online marketing scheme. However, the effectiveness of your PPC campaign can quickly be diminished when up to 20% of your budget is frequently wasted due to fraudulent activity. The right PPC activity can improve search visibility, drive extra traffic towards your website, and enhance customer conversion levels. In fact, research suggests that most businesses and websites online today will engage in a PPC marketing program at some point.
However, the trouble is that PPC is not immune to the malicious marketers out there that choose to manipulate the model and abuse click-through rates as a way of sabotaging their competitors. Click Fraud is a serious issue for any business that encounters it, and if left unnoticed for too long, it's an issue that can drain significant funds out of your marketing budget, while placating you with the impression that your schemes are actually successful.
Unfortunately, preventing click-fraud from happening entirely is something that most companies simply can't do - but that doesn't mean that you can't take useful precautions in minimizing the damage, and getting more out of your marketing budget. So how exactly can you minimize your chances of click fraud and ensure that you get the most out of your PPC marketing campaign? The following steps offer some quick and easy solutions.
Step One: Choose Targeted Keywords for your PPC Campaign
Often, the first and most commonly used method for reducing the chance of click-fraud, is to reduce the amount of damage any false or fraudulent clicks will have on your campaign. This means that you simply bid on the most targeted and industry-specific keywords that you can find. The more you specialize your choice in keywords, the more likely you will be to yield a higher return on investment. Not only will industry-specific keywords help to ensure that you'll generate more relevant traffic, they'll also ensure that the largest percentage of clicks that you receive will come from legitimate potential customers - instead of bots. If you're having trouble selecting the words and phrases that you think will be most beneficial to your campaign, tools like the AdWords planner may be useful.
Step Two: Monitor User Behavior
Part of the biggest battle that you will have to face in minimizing click fraud, is learning how to identify it. Unless you know how to determine which clicks are fraudulent and which are legitimate, the chances are that you'll struggle to maximize your marketing budget and ad value. With that in mind, you should do your best to continue checking your PPC program campaign every day that it is running. Although this can seem like a time-consuming process - particularly when you have a lot of other marketing aspects to think about, it's an important way to keep track of what's happening within your advertising strategy. Monitoring your PPC campaign should be something that most marketers do anyway if they want to learn which ads and keywords generate the most positive results - so that they can potentially enhance traffic and conversions.
If, like many small businesses today, you decide to use Google AdWords for your PPC campaign, checking for click fraud can be simple. Start by looking at reach, frequency, and dimensions. Measuring both frequency and reach should give you an insight into whether a significant percentage of your clicks are being delivered by a particular browser or IP address - and this will indicate that you've become a victim of click fraud. If you can, check the repeat-click through rates against your daily bounce rate, as this can be another way to identify the presence of click fraud on your campaign.
Step Three: Set up A Maximum Budget
Once you've decided on the particular keywords and phrases that you're going to use in your pay per click campaign, you'll need to come up with a bidding strategy that is appropriate to your advertising budget. If you haven't dealt with PPC before - you'll need to pay a small amount every time someone clicks on one of your advertisements, and the amount you pay will be determined according to the popularity of your keyword or phrase.
One easy way to reduce the impact of click fraud is to set a maximum cost-per-click bid for your PPC campaign, so that fraudulent individuals can't force you to pay out more than you intended on useless interactions. You might also think about setting up a maximum budget so that you never pay more than a certain amount every day, or week. Although this won't necessarily stop fraudulent clicks from happening, it will help to reduce the damage that they cause, and could help you to analyze the effectiveness of certain areas of your Ad campaign. For instance, if you see a large influx of clicks in a small time space - this could indicate you have become a victim of click fraud.