AdWords and Click Fraud
Click Fraud is the process of people, or sometimes even software robots, deliberately clicking on your ads with
the intention of driving up your AdWords costs and reducing your profitability. In the worst cases, fraudulent
clicks can blow your daily budget early in the day so that you get no leads. Imagine having your budget spent by
10am. Google will simply stop displaying your ads for the rest of the day leaving you twiddling your thumbs.
Click Fraud is definitely a problem for AdWords advertisers - but it is manageable. Don't make the mistake of
thinking that just because there is a problem that the whole system is bust.
You wouldn't write-off a house that had a draughty window.
Techniques To Control Click Fraud
There are a number of things you can do to control click fraud and here I just want to mention a few of
- You should be monitoring your traffic and actively looking out for fraudulent activity. There are tools
available to help you do this.
- You should be using the tools available within your AdWords account to block persistently offending IP
addresses. Again, there are tools available to help you spot persistent fraudsters coming from specific IP
- If you do keep finding that your budgets are being spent early in the day by blatant fraud, try setting up
your campaigns so that your ads are displayed evenly through the day rather than in an accelerated manner. This
problem is rare but very real, especially if you are in a highly competitive area where click costs are north
of £10 a go: it doesn't take many clicks to burn a big hole in your wallet and even if Google later on credits
your account, your traffic is probably going to be killed for most of the day. You may get your money back but
you won't get lost business back.
- Talk to Google. It is very much in Google's interests that you regard click fraud as a manageable risk
because if you don't, you're going to stop using AdWords altogether. A reasoned complaint to Google is likely
to result in a reasonable response.
Click Fraud and AdSense
AdSense click fraud is a special case of AdWords click
fraud. It arises when an AdSense publisher clicks on ads on his/her own site in order to inflate earnings. This is
contrary to Google's Terms and Conditions of AdSense but it doesn't stop people doing it. However, Google has some
sophisticated tools that look out for this and any such activity is highly likely to result in the AdSense
publisher being banned from the system.
As an advertiser it is harder to spot, especially if the fraudulent clicks are coming from a variety of IP
addresses. However, in some cases it is easy to see with repeated visitors coming to your site from an IP address
that is often located in a low value economy country.
One way to control this is to remove any offending country from your geotargeting settings.