Walter White, Don Draper, Hannah Horvath, Olivia Pope, Tony Soprano… Do you know what they have in common?
Yes, they’re all main TV characters. But they’re also not your usual protagonist. As HuffPost calls it, they’re morally gray, which is interesting because, in reality, people are the same. Humans aren’t so black and white that you can put them neatly in a good or bad box.
And that’s okay.
With bots, though, that’s not the case. With a discerning eye, you can figure out which ones are good and which ones are bad.
Spider bots such as Googlebot for example, are one of the good ones, while a click bot is without question, one of the worst.
In a previous post, we talked about the 3 types of clicks in the Pay-Per-Click or PPC advertising world.
One of those are clicks with malicious intent. Here, you either have a user who manually clicks on your ad repeatedly or an automated software or click bot who does the deed.
Now of the two, it’s obvious which one can do more damage.
Consider Methbot, the biggest ad fraud scam in history. Not only did the perpetrators make off with $3 to $5 million per day in fraudulent revenue, there are concerns that the extent of the fraud was even bigger than what was reported.
To say that click fraud is a problem for web advertising is an understatement. According to this report, around 20 percent of ad-serving sites online are made up of ad-fraud sites.
Can you imagine how much money you’ll lose if all your online video ads are viewed by bots and not your target customers?
It’s easy to say that all the people behind click fraud and bots are just your run of the mill cybercriminals. But that’s not always the case.
Try googling ‘buy traffic’ and you’ll see what we mean. Now take note, not all traffic sellers or brokers are bad per se. But you cannot discount those who knowingly buy traffic from bot farms and sell it to unwitting advertisers.
There’s also competitor click fraud, as we’ve already mentioned earlier. If you’re a small company with a limited marketing budget, this could really hurt.
It’s a must to know how to identify click fraud – be it manually or via bots – and take steps to protect your business.
In an ideal world, Google would protect all advertisers from baddies who use click bots and commit advertising fraud. But with its current fraud detection tools, Google’s just not there yet.
This doesn’t mean you should do away with PPC altogether. We assure you, there are ways to check and eliminate click fraud.
One of the best ways, of course, is to monitor your account.
Are you noticing an increase in your clicks but not in your conversion rates? Is there a sudden spike in your CTR? Could you be getting huge amounts of traffic from a specific location?
These could be warning signs that fraudsters have targeted you. You should also note that a lot of the work when it comes to data analysis falls on you. So you should really think about setting KPIs for your website.
Understanding how a click bot works and how advertising fraud is carried out, in general, are your first steps in winning this battle. But you shouldn’t stop there.
If you’re working with a publisher, do your due diligence and make sure the traffic they’re offering comes from legit sources. Even more important is making sure you’re working with someone who can be trusted so you’re not paying premium dollars for dodgy traffic.
Another strategy you can use to keep click fraud away is to tweak your targeting strategy.
Let’s say you’re getting a high number of invalid clicks from India. In Google Adwords, you can change your settings to exclude this location.
Also, in Adwords, you can exclude IP addresses that send you fraudulent clicks. This could go a long way in helping your future campaigns do better by preventing your ads from being displayed to those IP addresses.
Online advertising is not easy. Not only do you have to be creative, especially when you’re working with limited resources, you also have to make sure that you’re increasing your ROI.
That’s not going to happen if fraudulent activities in your PPC account are depleting your budget, rendering all your efforts worthless.
It’s a good thing there are things you can do to safeguard your ad dollars. It’s even better that you can use those together with a proven, practical tool that can instantly protect your Google Adwords account from click fraud.
Our click fraud detection and protection tool are the most advanced in the market today. It can protect you from manual click fraud, click bots, and unwanted clicks. What makes our tool different is it automatically excludes shady IP addresses from your Adwords account.
We’ve developed a sophisticated algorithm that responds to potential threats in real time.
Plus, our system is able to do cross account analysis so it doesn’t just blacklist a suspicious IP address but also all the multiple accounts associated with it.
The most dangerous assumption you can make is that your PPC platform can and will protect you from click fraud. Even though they may have tools in place, the ultimate responsibility for protecting your account falls on you.
If you’ve been victimized by a click bot, you can try lawyering up, but that’s unlikely to give you your money back.
Like we always say, committing click fraud is easy and as much as we’d like to see all perpetrators in jail, that’s not going to happen soon. Criminals evolve and their tools for committing crimes are becoming smarter, too.
If you want to outwit fraudsters and protect your business, you need to invest in long-term protection.
Interested? Don’t forget to check our pricing plans so you can decide which one’s right for your needs and budget.
You can also leave us a comment here if you have any questions about our product.