An estimated 20% of clicks on advertisements are fraudulent. Click fraud may be done by rivals to drain your ad budget or manipulate search results. Many firms are unaware of the cost of an organized click fraud effort. Others mistakenly assume search engines will handle it, though the problem is so great that they can’t stop it all. This is why click fraud remains a serious problem. Could you be a victim of click fraud? Here are three tell-tale signs.
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Your Conversion Rate Has Crashed
Most businesses know the average conversion rate of their ad campaigns. A new campaign may do better or worse than average. However, you know what the normal range is. If your conversion rate falls dramatically, this may be due to click fraud.
For example, click fraud could cause the conversion rate for ads tied to a profitable keyword to fall from 80% to 40%. Rivals may organize a campaign against you to force you to pay a fortune for all these fake clicks. This may lower the cost of the keyword or otherwise free it up for their use.
The solution is to check your PPC analytics. If there’s a sudden spike in the click-through rate, something’s wrong. Report it to the PPC provider, so that you can get a refund for the unwanted clicks.
Traffic Sources Change
Click fraud may be evident when click farms are in use. If someone is using software on a server to engage in click fraud, you may see several clicks from a given IP address. With a lot of data analysis, you may be able to identify when it is your rival engaging in click fraud and blocking their office’s IP address.
You need to know about click fraud because the companies you’re hiring to host ads can’t do enough to stop it. If you check out this ClickGuard’s in-depth article, you’ll learn that the traffic management mechanisms provided by major search engines that offer online advertising leave a lot to be desired. They discuss many of the problems with the current online advertising networks. They also explain the biggest threats to your digital advertising strategy.
For example, while bot farms hired by your rivals are a major problem, there are more than half a dozen other reasons why your ad budget may be consumed by click fraud. In some cases, it is coming from the sites hosting your ads to increase their revenue. In these cases, they just click on the ads once in a while to generate more revenue.
The Clicks Occur at Odd Times
Your customers will typically follow a pattern regarding when they visit your website or click an ad. They may do so on their lunch break or in the evening after they get home from work. Click fraud is more likely if there is an unusual spike in views at the start of their local workday. Fraudsters will target your ad early in the day so that it is less likely to show up when your intended audience is online.
Click fraud is a severe and growing problem. Know the signs of click fraud so that you can address it as quickly as possible.