War Of The Robots: Fighting Back Against Click Fraud
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.