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Click Fraud

TL;DR 

Click Fraud represents the practice of repeatedly clicking an ad in order to drain the publisher’s budget in a short time, to stop their ads from reaching the audience or to gain more profit as an ad host for Display network type of campaigns.

 

What is click fraud? 

Businesses run a lot of ads nowadays, and most advertising providers, have a PPC (pay-per-click) model. This means the company pays for each click. 
Click Fraud refers to the practice of repeatedly clicking on an advertisement placed in search engines or websites, with the sole intention of spending the advertiser's revenue. Or to generate more revenue for the website's ad host.

Why is click fraud bad for a website and how does it work?

With PPC, you only pay if your ad is clicked, but if the clicks are done by bots or competitors, the ad campaign will only result in a money loss. 

There are 2 types of Click Fraud:

  • Inflationary click fraud.

The campaign type determines where customers or possible leads will be able to see the ads. Campaign types include:

  • Search Network campaign
  • Display Network campaign
  • Shopping campaign
  • Video campaign
  • App campaign

Every time there is a click on your ads, you spend money, and someone hosting your Display Network ads on their relevant site or app makes a profit. To get high revenue from the clicks done on their website for the Display Network, Video or App Campaign, some hosts may have a strategy to repeatedly click on the ads (such as employees, click farms, friends, and family, etc.)

  • Competitive click fraud

The second type of fraud is competitive click fraud
As clearly as it sounds, this type of fraud is done through multiple clicks done by a competitor to spend the campaigns' budget fast without leading to actual conversions. 
Some competitors do it to stop the campaign earlier during the day, in order to have a lower number of impressions and reach during the day.

How to identify click-fraud and what to do against it

Tracking the website statistics is the key to a successful campaign! 
Check the number of visitors coming to your website through paid advertising using the UTM Campaigns and identify unusual patterns of behavior. Typically, a visitor coming from an ad may be interested in your pricing or services; therefore, you should see multiple visited pages. And the visitors' location should be the one you set in the ad target. While an unusual behavior will only click the ad without checking the site much. You may also see different locations or the same IP or visitor coming back and forth.

If unusual activity happens, you can block the suspicious IPs from seeing your ads. 
You can also hire a company specialized in click-fraud to track down the problem and to make sure your ads are delivered to the right audience.