Have you ever found yourself studiously avoiding your own paid links in Google, so that you don’t get charged for looking at your own website? Every click costs, regardless of the intent – and it turns out that it’s big business for fraudsters.
By now, it won’t be news to anyone that all clicks are not created equal. As covered in our recent blog, Five Metrics for Successfully Marketing your Service Business, the amount spent per click on your online advertising is a key metric for analysing its performance, and your overall profitability.
So what happens when the clicks are coming thick and fast, but from the wrong places – disrupting your stats and (even worse) pushing up the cost of every sale you make. Whether it’s innocent or something more sinister, it’s happening now. Fortunately, now, there is also a way to reclaim some of those costs.
Types of click fraud
The more innocent instances of “click fraud” are often by data aggregation spiders, crawling pages to gather information from your site, as well as many others. This is less to harm your business specifically, and more to compare and contrast competing businesses. There are also those customers who will google you every time they want to phone you, or browse your site… and then click your paid Google ad to get there. This is painful, but not malicious.
True, malevolent click fraud comes from those who want to sabotage your business – unhappy customers or more commonly, your competitors. Some may casually generate a few false clicks themselves, but the next level is Google Adwords clickbots – programs that can be bought and used by competitors, to generate large click volumes on your ads automatically. One bot can generate hundreds of clicks per minute, and as there is currently no law against them, there is no enforcement or deterrent punishment against their use.
According to recent studies by our technology partners, PPC (paid per click) bot clicking activity has doubled in less than four years.
How do you fight back?
Fortunately, Ark Advance has secured a solution for our clients that can help you gain recompense on those maliciously wasted Google clicks. Using a specialist service and technology, we can now offer monitoring, detection and action on click fraud for your business.
Fighting click fraud involves four steps, which are operated behind the scenes with no action required by you.
Applying sophisticated tracking options, our system is able to get a total view of all click data. Dozens of tests on each click enable an accurate determination of fraudulent vs innocent clicks.
Tests can detect unique devices that are clicking repetitively, match usage locations and identify the IP address(es) used. An important factor is that mobile activity has been measured as accounting for more than 90% of fraud on a single account. It is easier for a fraudster to change their IP on a mobile phone than it is on a desktop device. We are able to flag a fraudulent device and block it immediately, preventing a fraudster from multiple clicks from the same IP.
Real time access via the Google API results in immediate blocking of the fraudulent IPs.
Every couple of months, a refund request to Google is made for additional clicks on your behalf. Every dollar you save is ready to be reinvested in clicks by genuine potential customers.
Ark Advance is ready to deploy this technology as part of your digital marketing package, with customised analysis and reporting for a forensic view of your click traffic.
So if you think the bots might be infiltrating your numbers and results, call us today to fight back.
At Ark Advance, we value strategic partnership and empowering organisations. As a Corporate Patron of the Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland Arts Festival in 2020, we have a strong relationship in the heart of our community that continues to evolve with empowerment at its core.
Now in its fifth consecutive year, this partnership has helped the Festival to begin expanding its internal capacity, while Ark Advance takes on the role of mentor through all elements of digital marketing.
A celebration of arts and minds
A globally recognised celebration of art and culture held in New Zealand’s largest city, the 12th annual Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland Arts Festival is happening from 11–29 March 2020.
The Festival, which has attracted more than two million visitors to date, is a place for ambitious ideas by storytellers, provocateurs and creators. It reflects our contemporary, cosmopolitan city with its many communities, challenging artists and audiences to be bold and take a risk.
Through the work of artists of Aotearoa and across the world, the Festival aims to unify, enlighten and inspire the people of Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau and our many visitors.
Playing to our strengths
This is an exciting strategic partnership that allows Auckland Arts Festival to build its in-house capabilities, while still maintaining best practice guidance from a company at the top of its game.
According to Ark Advance General Manager Chris Price, “These kind of strategic partnerships are what we seek out when working alongside an organisation. It’s a win-win for both sides. We can coach clients to be more efficient in their digital strategy and over time our role changes, from being hands on to taking a step back. It’s like parenting and it is very rewarding to work alongside an organisation that can adopt this model so effectively and recognise the value it has.”
“Auckland Arts Festival completely understands this strategic partnership. Since we began working together in 2015 we have totally customised our approach to suit their requirements and it’s a great example of how the arts and digital marketing can effectively collaborate. Communication is central to this and the ongoing support to achieve shared goals.”
Auckland Arts Festival Director of Marketing Thierry Pannetier agrees. “We are pleased to join forces again with Ark.Advance for our 2020 festival, this being our fifth consecutive year,” he says. “During this time, we have gone from strength to strength and have learned many of the key elements of digital marketing from these leaders in the field. It’s been a fantastic way to take on more ownership while still having them at the ready to guide us on our journey.
“We look forward to the festival ahead and an ongoing relationship well into the future.”
With you on your journey
Ark Advance provides high-performance digital advertising solutions for growing New Zealand businesses, working together to give you as much (or as little) control as you desire.
To find out where we could take you, get in touch today.
In his book Atomic Habits, the author James Clear proposes the benefits of tiny, incremental changes for significant long-term results. While the concept itself isn’t new, Clear’s comprehensive and approachable system for achieving personal change is proving popular, with more than a million copies of the book sold and counting.
While we can see intellectually that small changes can (and indeed often must) be the constituents of large ones, many of us still have a contradictory and paralysing sense that only big-bang approaches are worthwhile. It’s an unhelpful illusion, and nowhere is this more relevant than your website.
Your first “big bang”
To some degree, it’s understandable that change feels like a big hill to climb when you have gone through launching your own website.
Going from zero to a visible public presence is a big step, and one that is often highly overwrought and over-thought. The pressure for perfectionism is high: it is your public storefront as a business, and naturally you want it to reflect everything positive about your offering.
However, once it is launched, the last thing you can and should do is sit back and rest on its laurels. Tempting as it may be, it is actually desirable and indeed necessary to keep updates small and regular.
Continuous improvement is still key
Contrary to the big-bang illusion, a web environment offers you the perfect chance to correct mistakes, refresh your keywords and test the effectiveness of different combinations.
More importantly, fresh content also has the following benefits:
If you search a term on Google, you’ll find that the top results are usually published in the past year. Content that was relevant when you wrote it won’t always be perceived that way; for instance, you are much more likely to click on information published in 2019 than in 2014. Your customers are no different.
If your competitor’s website has newer content, they are likely to get more traffic (and business), which feeds again in turn to their SEO advantage. Don’t be the static source of information in your field.
Search engines use web crawlers to index your website on different algorithmic factors. Whenever you update your site, search engines take notice and adjust your ranking. If your website shows no new content, others with fresher content may surpass you. It’s also well known that Google favours fresh content; recently published content gets higher rankings, especially by topic.
The more quality content you write on a topic, the stronger an authority you can become. When readers start trusting you, the search engines will respond accordingly. Updating your pages regularly will increase your presence and authority in your industry.
Start today, with 1%
If you’re feeling behind, the first rule is, don’t panic. The easiest way to get started is to make small tweaks to existing content; pick low-hanging fruit, like fixing any small errors you’ve noticed, tweaking your ‘About Us’ page to cover recent achievements, and updating your contact details with social media links if applicable.
From there, you will no doubt start to see possibilities for growing your content naturally. You can also offer reciprocal guest posts for complementary businesses, which also improves your search engine rankings.
Whatever you do, do it a little at a time; it’s not just easier to manage, it is in fact essential. And if your current SEO provider isn’t doing this, ask them why.
Need help with finding your sweet spot in content maintenance? Ark Advance are experts – contact us today.