Invalid clicks, whether they’re accidental or intentionally implemented by your competitors, are a big problem in the online paid advertising industry. You have to be vigilant in tracking your PPC campaigns otherwise the costs of invalid clicks can swiftly add up and consume your entire online advertising campaign budget, resulting in expensive click fraud. There are two possible sources of click fraud: competitors using various methods of continuously clicking on your ads (i.e. bots) or marketers clicking on their own ads to generate more ad revenue for themselves. Thankfully, Google AdWords has a feature that tracks all ad clicks and determines which ones are suspicious enough to qualify as click fraud.
Break Down Your Ad Traffic on Google AdWords
You can use Google AdWords to help save on the cost per click for each of your different ad campaigns by monitoring and compartmentalizing your ad traffic based on certain features such as location, web site, and demographic. Google Analytics allows you to examine the sources of your ad clicks and scrutinize the subsequent behaviours of those users on your web site after they’ve clicked your ad. It can help distinguish accidental clicks from intentionally fraudulent clicks and save you a great deal of money on your ad clicks.
However, the program is far from perfect and still requires a great deal of attention to detail on your part. If the data shows some suspicious activity is afoot, then you can take calculated steps to ensure that your overall advertising costs are kept low and prevent certain sources or users from gaining access to your ads in the future. You can start by lowering your bids on ads in certain locations or on web sites where you suspect the highest amount of foul play. This way, your costs per click for those specific ads will be much lower. Keep a close eye on those ads and see if you can notice any negative trends over time. If so, be sure to take appropriate steps to correct these unethical business practices and prevent them from affecting your campaign budget.
Exclude Suspicious IP Addresses
Once you’ve identified the culprits of your fraudulent clicks, you can change your settings in your AdWords campaigns so that certain IP addresses are excluded from the list of web sites and online platforms where your ads can be viewed. The IP Exclusions tab in your Settings allows you to control where your ads are visible on the Internet. Web sites listed there will no longer be able to access your ads in the future.
Let Google Guide You
Google is an excellent ally in the fight against invalid clicks and click fraud, but as mentioned previously, it’s far from perfect. You can let it do most of the work for you when it comes to evaluating how clicks are generated for your ads, but you need to stay on top of this process so that you can catch discrepancies that Google might miss or fail to recognize. Make sure you limit your advertising to well-known web sites that you’re familiar with, such as various social media platforms, because they’ll help you target your ads only to promising prospective leads or customers. Google will track what these users have searched for in the past and then provide that information confidentially to these web sites, allowing you to jump on some golden, targeted advertising opportunities.
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