Click fraud poses a serious threat to PPC advertisers as well as to the credibility of PPC networks. As of 2008, researchers estimate $1.6 billion were lost to click fraud. It occurs when a competitor clicks on your ads to reduce your budget or when web robots or spiders to click on ads fraudulently.
PPC networks, including Google Adwords, confirm the existence of click fraud and are working hard to solve it. All we can do as PPC advertisers is to tweak our campaigns to reduce the risk of click fraud. Here are some tips for safeguarding your campaigns:
1. Keep an eye on your click through rates. It is easy to review your click-through rates and conversions with Google. You can even print out a daily or weekly report to monitor any bizarre activity. You might also want to reconcile your click-through rates with your actual web site traffic report. Check for IP addresses and websites that access your site regularly.
2. Maintain a daily budget. Make sure you’re setting a budget to limit total costs on daily Adwords programs. You’ll want to select a reasonable budget that you can maintain for at least several months. This can reduce the risk of click fraud and make it easier for you to track your expenditures for Google Adwords.
3. Set a daily click limit. Bruce C. Brown, the author of the book “The Complete Guide to Google Advertising” suggests that every Adwords manager set up a daily click limit. This allows you to monitor how many clicks are being generated over a period of time, so your ad isn’t just ‘left out in the open’ for anyone to click on. When the click limit has been reached, your ad will simply disappear.
4. Limit your Ads to certain locations. Using the geographic location feature is one of the best methods for safeguarding your campaigns against fraudulent activities. Research where your target market is mostly based and focus on running your ads only in certain countries or regions. It would be a waste of money to run ads on regions you won’t do business in.
5. Don’t be enticed by the free offers of some PPC programs. Some PPC companies offer free services, products or downloadable software to get you to sign-up with them. Be careful in accepting these offers, more so if you have to download a software that ‘oversees’ your keyword campaigns. Some hosting companies do offer Adwords ‘credit’ to sign up with them. These are generally safe as long as you are dealing directly with Google Adwords.
You need to report your experience directly to Google if you think you were a victim of click fraud. Google investigates click fraud cases with their own fraud protection team. Report your case as soon as possible to get your campaign back on course. Advice4Unow.com