Click fraud occurs when people click on your ads intentionally or generate false activity to influence the efficiency of your campaigns. This is a very serious issue and one that is only continuing to grow. It was estimated that about 8.3 million of all ad impressions were fraudulent in 2016, according to Integral Ad Science. These attacks can be perpetrated by a competitor, but can also be performed through third-party services or software. Let’s take a look at a few signs that you might be the victim of click fraud. We’ll also explain the steps you can take to counter the problem.
Pay Very Close Attention to Your Site’s Analytics
The very first thing you have to make sure is that you’re on top of your site’s analytics at all times. The Google Search Console is all you need if you want to keep an eye on things such as bounce rates and page visits. These will be very telling if you suspect that you’re under attack.
For instance, it’s unusual to have increased activity on your ads, but higher than normal bounce rates. You should also be able to see if there’s a sharp decrease in page visits. These could all be indicators that there’s foul play going on.
Look for Low Conversions or an Unusually High/Low CTR
You also have to keep a close eye on your conversions. If your conversions suddenly drop at the same time as your CTR and impressions are going up, then it’s a clear sign that there’s something untoward occurring.
The same can be said if you suddenly see a spike in impressions, but very low click through rates. This will make Google believe that your ads are of low quality, which will affect their visibility.
Strange User Activity
Another reason why you need to keep a close eye on your site’s analytics is to pinpoint fraudulent activity from specific users. Here, you want to look to see if there’s one particular IP that is behaving strangely on your site or visits repeatedly and bounces. If you notice either of the above, there are steps that you can take to block them from seeing both your ads and your site.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Click Fraud?
Well, the first step is making sure that you narrow down your keyword selection so you can limit the amount of damage and the openings for fraud. You also have to notify any platform you’re working with of any unusual activity on your account.
Another thing you should do is invest in click fraud protection software, like ClickCease or PPC Protect. ClickGUARD has a nice comparison of ClickCease vs PPC Protect. Not only does their comparison show the different features between ClickCease vs PPC Protect, but it also compares both to their solution and showcases some of the things that they do better, like real-time protection and automatic campaign pausing among others.
These are all clear signs that you might be dealing with a case of click fraud. Make sure that you take the steps necessary to protect yourself, and keep a close eye on both your campaign and website data.