What Is Click Fraud and Is It Preventable?

Marketing budgets are often tight, and websites have to choose the search terms they target strategically to avoid wasting their resources. Changes in bidding algorithms have jolted the PPC industry and forced many marketers to rethink their strategies. 

Click fraud represents another threat to their budgets. It is also being weaponised by competitors and used to drain competitors’ funds.

What Is Click Fraud?

Put simply, click fraud is when a third-party generates artificial activity between them and online advertising. The purpose of this activity is to trick the website or advertiser into thinking it has been clicked on more than it actually has.

The most obvious sign that a website is the victim of click fraud is inexplicably high web hosting costs. Another sign is a disproportionate volume of non-converted traffic coming from the same ISP. Both of these are often indicative of click fraud.

Where Does Click Fraud Come From?

There are three potential sources of click fraud that you need to be aware of. The majority of click fraud comes from one of these three sources:

  • Website owners: Sometimes, it’s an inside job. Website owners can potentially earn money by falsifying their ad data. Generating fake clicks and views will make the website seem more popular and more valuable to advertisers.

  • Competitors: The most likely perpetrator is a competitor. By engaging in click fraud against their competitors, fraudsters can drive up the costs of search terms and price them out of the market. Once their competitor can no longer afford to compete for those turns, the fraudsters can swoop in and pick them up at a lower price.

  • Customers: Sometimes, customers inadvertently behave in a way that mimics click fraud. Most of us access our regular websites through a bookmark or through using the URL. But some people use a paid ad on one site to access another site regularly. This activity has the same impact as ad fraud.

Preventing Click Fraud

There are several things you can do to prevent click fraud and stamp it out wherever you find it. For example, if you are willing to restrict your advertising to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you don’t have to worry about the behaviour of third-party publishers. This simple fact will reduce the instances of ad fraud that you have to deal with.

If you manage to identify the IP addresses or ISPs responsible for the bulk of the click fraud on your site, you can block them from accessing your website.

If you want comprehensive click fraud protection without having to monitor everything yourself, click fraud services from a business like ClickGUARD are the way to go. Not only do ClickGUARD provide excellent click fraud detection and protection, but they also outline everything you need to know about click fraud.

Click fraud can create numerous issues for website owners and advertisers, and so fighting click fraud is in everyone’s interest. Search engines are taking some measures to reduce the spread of click fraud, but websites should also implement their own.