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How to Prevent Click Fraud with Your Google Ads

02nd
March
2022
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Clearwater Staff

If you have a Google Ads campaign, you are likely familiar with the incredible reach and exposure it can deliver to your business when trying to attract your target markets. Unlike other digital marketing campaigns, like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which can take time to see significant results, you are able to place a defined budget that will push your ads immediately in front of qualified users, only charging you when the ad itself is clicked.

On the surface, this pay-per-click system seems perfect to generate a strong return on investment. Unfortunately, a rampant downside within the industry is something known as ‘click fraud’. This can cause serious depletion of your marketing budgets, especially when you are a small business and rely on every dollar to obtain new business.

In this article, the team at Clearwater explore effective methods you can use to prevent click fraud.

What is Click Fraud?

Click fraud occurs when a particular person (usually a direct competitor) will repeatedly click on your paid ads to deplete your ad budget, or raise the price of your campaigns to diminish returns, deterring your longevity with the strategy. It’s malicious, but an effective tactic to push out otherwise well-performing ads to make room for their own. Platforms like Google do punish click fraud when located, but sophisticated strategies, and even the use of bots, can make it incredibly difficult to do so.

 

Methods to Prevent Click Fraud

 

Establish IP Exclusions

To get started, we will cover both the most effective, and most time-consuming method for combatting potential click fraud: IP exclusions.

Every online user will have an IP address with their internet connection. Upon visiting a website, this IP address is reviewed and stored for webmasters to track. For example, WordPress websites can be connected directly with Google Analytics, with specific code to track site visitors’ IP addresses. You can then wait to review if suspected fraudulent behaviour occurs, such as the same IP address repeatedly clicking on an ad, yet with minuscule session times.

On your Google Ads account, you can find in the settings section an IP address exclusion box, where you simply enter the fraudulent addresses, and Google will no longer allow them to see your ads.

Experiment with Remarketing Campaigns

Retargeting is a powerful marketing campaign with terrific potential. Once your website receives a visitor, retargeting ads are established to display particular ads to them. These can be especially helpful in the form of banner ads, where your branded imagery & videos appear in the borders of another website, reminding potential customers of your offerings and keeping your business front of mind.

This works by Google providing tracking codes on website visitors that have performed certain actions, and placing budgets on ads for new users that are actually engaged, rather than for ads that prove more susceptible to click fraud.

Optimise Ad Targeting

One of the most powerful features of Google Ads is its ability to target certain demographics and online behaviours of users. Should you not optimise your ad targeting, however, then you are leaving yourself more vulnerable to click fraud.

For example, the larger your geographic range of advertising, such as nationwide or worldwide, you may find fraudulent clicks congregating in a selection of specific areas. If you do not have a strong return on conversions in these regions, adjust your targeting to reduce ad fraud. Should you not be sure, then rather than removing all regions in one swoop, take areas out one by one – this way you will identify the real problem areas, and continue to capture leads in others.

Social Media Ads

A downfall of Google is the extensive network of publishers they use with their advertisements. What’s more, when these ads appear on other sites, they come with incentives to encourage as many clicks as possible, meaning either publishers can click each ad to improve overall click counts (and therefore receive greater compensation), or competitors can do so from third-party websites.

Social media advertising, such as through Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, are isolated just to their platforms, reducing click fraud in a more controlled environment.

Reduce Click Fraud & Boost Your Ads Campaign with Clearwater

Optimise your Google Ads campaign and expand your wider digital marketing with remarketing and social media advertising. Book an appointment with one of our marketing specialists at Clearwater today.

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