A number of articles were released last week bringing attention to the rise in click fraud. It was claimed that the amount of fraud was accumulating up to as much as 10% of all paid search revenue.
These articles caused significant concern among many people using Pay Per Click for their online marketing campaigns, with the question of “Am I being scammed by click fraud?” being raised by many businesses. But what these articles failed to point out was the behind the scenes work Google and other search engines to combat and protect businesses against click fraud.
Below I will answer the crucial questions of: What is click fraud? Does it affect my campaign? What gets done about it?
What is click fraud?
Click fraud is the industry term for when an advertiser’s PPC ads are maliciously clicked on by individuals or groups who have no genuine interest in buying from the advertiser. Click fraud is typically intended to deplete the PPC budget of an advertiser so that ads no longer show and the advertiser’s ROI from paid search is compromised. Attempts at click fraud are usually made by competitors or personal enemies of the advertiser.
Google refers to click fraud as ‘invalid clicks’. This is a wider term used to refer to both deliberately fraudulent clicks (as described above), or accidental clicks, such as when a user clicks on an ad that they didn’t mean to.
Why ‘invalid clicks’ instead of ‘click fraud’? According to Google: “because we have no way to judge the intent of the click and whether it’s deliberately fraudulent or just accidental”. The way Google sees it, whether or not the invalid click is deliberate or accidental, there is no reason why a business should have to pay for it.
Does It Affect My Campaign?
We are reassured that those running an AdWords campaign are not charged for invalid clicks, with Google being able to detect and filter such occurrences.
How does Google do this? There are many things Google looks at to detect invalid clicks:
- Duplicate IP addresses
- User session information
- Network information
- Browser information
Google states there are many more factors to detect potential invalid clicks, however it does not release all details so as to prevent those purposely participating in click fraud gaining information on how to find loop holes.
What Gets Done About It?
The Google blog posts state that the undetected number of invalid clicks is less than 0.02%. In fact, you can even see all the invalid clicks picked up by Google by following some simple steps in the Google Adwords Help Centre .
You do NOT pay for any of these invalid clicks detected by Google, and in this way your AdWords campaign and budget remains protected against online fraud.
If you have any concerns about the above, don’t hesitate to speak to your campaign manager or one of our Pay Per Click Managers for more information and clarification.