Click Fraud: How To Stop Others From Bleeding Your PPC Ads
When you hire a Chicago PPC agency, you typically want to set up and run a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign to increase sales. You probably do not usually hear about recruiting a PPC agency to combat click fraud. However, given the ubiquity of PPC, it happens much more than you think,.
This guide arms you against fraudsters by telling you what you need to know about click fraud, including:
- The basic whats and whys of click fraud
- Five steps to stop click fraud immediately
There’s a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
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What Is Click Fraud? How Does It Work?
Click fraud is a black-hat search engine optimization (SEO) tactic that works by manipulating ad metrics for one reason or another. A good Chicago PPC agency would alert you to click fraud and work hard to secure your campaign. The reasons why click fraud exists as a practice include:
- Depleting competitors’ ad budgets to let a PPC campaign get the upper hand
- Inflating success rates and faking campaign quality to sell more services to PPC clients
- Boosting their metrics to appear successful and gain traction faster through PPC
Click fraud is a black hat SEO technique that is a “high-risk, high-reward” strategy. The penalties for getting caught are massive hits to your organic ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), lost business potential, among other punishments.
5 Steps To Stop Click Fraud in Its Tracks
Now that you are aware of click fraud and how others can weaponize it against it, you need to start taking measures to either limit the damage it is causing your business or prevent it from happening in the first place. Either way, you need to prioritize protecting your interests from fraud.
Thankfully, PPC agency experts have covered this topic. So, follow their advice. Before starting the steps below, equip yourself with the proper tools and know-how for follow through. Use this checklist to see what essentials you will need to prepare beforehand:
- Learn how to read key PPC metrics and understand what they mean for your campaign.
- Learn to generate or export analytics reports for later viewing and comparison purposes.
- Research click-tracking software and find one that suits your immediate PPC concerns.
1. Get Comfortable Watching Ad Metrics
Tracking numbers is, quite frankly, a boring task. However, you cannot stay vigilant against click fraud if you have no idea what is happening behind the scenes. You have to understand what “normal” is, before you can tell it apart from the unusual. In other words, you need a baseline.
That means you have to get used to tracking your campaign metrics so that you become aware of any anomalies caused by click fraud. Numbers are not the be-all and end-all for stopping click fraud, though. You must consider other observable and recordable data during an examination.
2. Know the Who, When, What, and How
Click fraud leaves a discernible pattern, no matter how smart these tricksters may think they are. The trick is to be able to identify click fraud when it happens. For example, treat repeated clicks from any IP address that do not lead to conversions as suspicious, but do not write them off quickly.
You can also use PPC tools, such as click-tracking software, to monitor traffic and cut off anyone you think is targeting you with click fraud. Google Ads also has its own IP exclusion feature, which allows you to essentially do the same but by manually tracking down the addresses.
3. Watch Out for Any Unusual Ad Activity
Unless you have the experience and expertise of someone from a Chicago PPC agency, this might be where following the process increases in difficulty. While suspicious, repeated clicks from a single source do not immediately equal click fraud. However, treat them cautiously.
The unusual activity would be something along the lines of using up your day’s budget too quickly. Another excellent example would be receiving 25 clicks daily from the same IP address around the same time, like clockwork. In short, pay close attention to any patterns.
4. Update and Secure Your Ad Campaign
Apart from installing PPC software to limit harm from click fraud, you should also consider updating your campaign. Your chosen keywords might be naturally vulnerable to exploitation or just a prime target for PPC cheats. You can further secure your account by refining your ad’s triggers.
By shifting your campaign’s scope of keywords, you will hopefully avoid the fraud artists you have previously encountered. If that does not work, follow up with IP exclusion to block their access to your website immediately, to stop them from abusing your PPC ads further.
5. Install PPC and Click-Tracking Software
Finally, set up PPC analytics tracking (if you have not already) to keep on top of monitoring your ads and campaign’s progress. Use these to verify whether or not you are a click fraud victim, and start taking further measures to prevent recurrences as much as possible in the future.
Essentially, this goes back to the first step because you need constant vigilance to stop click fraud from harming your business. PPC impersonators want you to be lax. Do not be. If stopping click fraud is difficult to do, consider hiring a Chicago PPC agency to handle it.
Click fraud is a cheap and dishonest way to do PPC. Fraudsters who engage in this activity are not remotely concerned about marketing. For them, it is about bringing down someone else, rather than acquiring success for themselves.
Stopping click fraud is tedious and challenging, but necessary for protecting your business. You can sum up the process in three words: audits, analytics, and activity, not that they make the job any easier. However, outsourcing PPC to experts does that and more.
Need help stopping click fraud in its tracks? Contact us to learn how we can help.
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