Click fraud has proved to be one of the biggest irritants for CPC advertisement stake holders. Over the period of time, click fraud has acquired gigantic proportions. Some analysts believe that between 20% to 30% of traffic driven by PPC originates in fraudulent activities. These figures acquire frightening proportion when we consider that ad networks like Google are earning ad revenues in the region of USD 20 billions annually. Add to this the many billions by other ad networks such as Microsoft and Yahoo, and the picture gets murkier. This means that click fraud is costing advertisers in excess of USD 5 billions annually, on an average! This is a mind boggling figure, especially since all of it comes from fraudulent clicks, and from online advertising – considered a very focused form of advertising.
Why is it Necessary To Tackle Click Fraud?
As I pointed out in my last article on click fraud, click fraud takes place at various levels, and is not instigated by content publishers all the time. The biggest losers due to fraudulent clicks on CPC ads are the advertisers, who have to face a double barreled curse – a distorted ROI and excessive costs.
Ad networks have often been accused of taking up a rather ambivalent attitude towards click fraud, since they mostly get to keep the money. Yet, ad networks have taken various steps to combat this menace, for example, Google has come out with its Adsense Smart Pricing system which goes a long way in protecting the interests of the advertisers. A few years back, Google spent 90 million dollars to settle a class action suit by a number of US advertisers who were at the receiving end of the click fraud activities.
Again, though click fraud is perpetuated by dishonest publishers, sometimes publishers themselves unwittingly become victims of competitors, malicious clickers and friends with good intentions.
Tips for Fighting Click Fraud
If you are an advertiser who is spending money on CPC ads, then it literally pays to take the necessary steps to combat click fraud. You can fight the menace of click fraud by taking the following steps -
- Monitor the click volume on a daily basis, and be very suspicious of sudden spikes.
- Concentrate on search targeted ad campaigns – most of the frauds originate from content network targeted ads.
- If your products or service targets customers of a particular geographic area, run geographically targeted campaigns.
- If you are running a global campaign, be very alert of clicks from high risk countries.
- Increase the size of your keyword base, especially if you are targeting a high CPC niche.
- Check for various information from logs, such as IP addresses and specific periods of high traffic.
- Go with ‘trusted’ search engines and ad networks only.
- Avoid bidding for the highest placement of your ads.
- Invest in a fraudulent click detection software.
- Hire professional help.
The publishers can also make use of certain software that are available in the market, and which help in blocking multiple clicks on ads from a single computer.