6 Ways Marketers Can Reduce the Impact of Click Fraud

by Maximilian Claessens

For modern marketers, click fraud can be a real scourge. There are various different forms that click fraud can take, but they all amount to more or less the same thing; they use bots to click on online content, usually adverts, tricking any monitoring programs into thinking that they are a human user.

Both automatic and manual click fraud present challenges for modern marketers and websites. Eliminating the impact of click fraud is all but impossible but, fortunately, there is a range of things that you can do to reduce the impact of click fraud on your marketing and on your data. Below are 6 things that every digital marketer should do when they launch a PPC campaign to keep click fraud to a minimum.

Limit Your Spending Per Click

One of the simplest things that marketers can do to reduce the impact that click fraud has on their campaigns is to set a limit on the amount that they are willing to bid. By limiting the amount that they spend to secure each click, marketers can ensure that they are able to stay above the commotion when click fraud is artificially driving up the prices for bidding on certain keywords.

Of course, setting a limit too low is going to end up harming your chances when you are making legitimate bids on keywords. However, it is always good to have a realistic upper limit in mind that you avoid exceeding.

Watch What Your Competitors Are Doing

The modern click fraud landscape is just as diverse and complex as the marketing landscape that it is defrauding. For any business with a strategy for preventing click fraud, competitor research should be a core part of their approach. It is always helpful to be able to see who you are competing with for your most important keywords. This research can also alert you when one of your competitors is a source of competitor click fraud.

There are numerous software options that can be beneficial here. For example, click forensics from ClickGUARD is a popular tool that offers free click tracking reports to help protect yourself against click fraud. Not only this, but it will provide you with a detailed breakdown of the number of clicks that you are generating and the number of those clicks that are coming from competitors. It can also monitor for other common sources of click fraud and provide you with an early warning when your marketing campaigns are hijacked.

Make Sure to Track All Your Campaigns

Whenever you launch a marketing campaign, you should do so with an idea of how you will monitor the campaign while it is underway and what metrics you will use to measure its success. If you aren’t tracking your campaigns, then you won’t be able to see the progress you are making and make any adjustments if you need to.

Fortunately, Google puts numerous powerful tools at your disposal for planning, executing, and monitoring your campaigns. You don’t necessarily need to spend lots of money on expensive monitoring software to get a good vantage point on the state of your marketing campaigns. However, as always, if you are able and willing to pay for premium tools, then you can access more advanced capabilities.

Restrict Your Ads to Specific Countries

There are some countries where labor rates are low and employment laws are threadbare while internet usage is relatively high. This creates a perfect storm for click farms and other similar setups. Click farms have few if any legitimate uses, but they are becoming rampant, especially in certain parts of the world. One of the most common uses for these click farms is as a means of artificially boosting the number of clicks and views that content receives. For black hat marketers, click farms can enable them to massively increase the apparent popularity of their campaigns, albeit artificially.

If you want to reduce the impact that click fraud is having on your campaigns and you are concerned about the effect that click fraud could have on your marketing data, then it might make sense to restrict your ads to specific countries. By preventing your ads from being displayed in places where there is a higher than normal prevalence of click fraud, you can collect more reliable performance data and get a much clearer snapshot of your campaign’s health.

Target High-Value Sites as a Priority

Low quality and spammy websites are also a hotbed of click fraud. Worse still, many of these websites are actively courting click fraud, knowing that it can make their sites look much more attractive to marketers even if the data that that attraction is built on is faulty. For many marketers, this makes low-quality websites a risky proposition. A cheap website that is rife with click fraud might be returning all the right numbers for marketers, but very few of those clicks will be actual human users and are therefore unlikely to yield many benefits for marketers in the long run.

Alternatively, focus your resources on targeting high-quality websites that are known to have the necessary measures in place to eliminate or reduce click fraud as much as they can. You will never be able to rid yourself of click fraud 100%, but by sticking to the websites that are least likely to be adversely affected by it, you will reduce the impact that it has on your business.

Invest in the Right Protection

The methods we have outlined above will help you to place your ads in the right places and make sure they are being seen by the right people. However, we would also recommend that you invest in software to help provide you with the protection and analytics you need. Understanding Click Fraud isn’t the kind of thing that comes naturally; it’s something that you have to learn about yourself.

This won’t just help to reduce the incidence of click fraud on your ads, but it will also enable you to improve the overall quality of the traffic that you are attracting. This, in turn, leads to more sales and less waste throughout your digital marketing. As well as defending you from click fraud, software such as ClickGUARD which we mentioned previously will also help you to combat fake bot traffic, errant web crawlers, or other users and bots that are disguising their identity using an anonymous proxy.  Best of all, once it’s configured, you can leave it to do its thing automatically.

Click fraud is a serious problem for modern marketers. PPC marketing represents a significant component of any holistic digital marketing campaign – no digital marketing campaign is complete without it. However, click fraud creates all kinds of problems for PPC marketers. Not only can it result in money being wasted and ads being served up to bots instead of people, it can massively distort the data that marketers gather and lead to erroneous conclusions.

By following the guidelines outlined above, you can reduce the impact of click fraud on your marketing campaigns and ensure that you are getting the biggest bang possible for your buck. There’s no way of stopping click fraud completely, but you can certainly mitigate the impact it has on your marketing.

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