The biggest threat to running Google ads in 2021 is, without a doubt, click fraud. Sabotage of PPC campaigns has become a headache for businesses as more competitors and marketers use underhand methods to gain an edge in the market. Years ago, this was done in small measures, but today it is a black hole that has led to serious questions about the need and value of Google ads.
What is click fraud, and why is it such a big problem?
In the simplest terms, click fraud refers to clicks on Google ads meant to either exhaust an advertiser’s budget or defraud a business. There are two primary sources of these unwanted clicks, and they are:
Manual click fraud
This is whereby a group of people is paid to click on ads. This group is often known as a click firm, and they spend most of their time targeting ads from a specific brand or the top competitors in a particular niche. These clicks are often made without the intent of taking any further action once Google registers that there has been a traffic source to the website.
Automated Click Fraud
This is the use of automated software to click on ads and visit specific websites. It is a fake source of traffic that tends to mimic human behavior and is often used by unscrupulous marketers or competitors.
The main problem with click fraud is the losses it causes to businesses in every PPC campaign. Studies show that over $3 billion is lost yearly to click fraud, with over 78% of marketers stating that this has become their biggest nightmare. This is because, with the growing rate of fraudulent clicks on ads, you can no longer tell about the true impact of a PPC campaign.
Click fraud prevention
Technology is getting better by the day, and the software used for click fraud has become more advanced and harder to detect. Still, there are useful ways to prevent the huge impacts of click fraud, and the best are:
Never-ending optimization of your PPC campaigns
Continuous optimization of PPC campaigns is one of the oldest tricks in the books to prevent click fraud. Narrowing down on the right audience limits the chances of window shoppers or click firms putting your PPC campaign efforts to waste. This is whereby the automation of your Google ads greatly helps as machine learning, and AI is smart enough to focus on the right target audience.
Careful analysis of user behavior
You can never win in PPC without careful analysis of your campaigns and target market. There are obvious giveaways to click fraud, like a huge amount of traffic from a particular source with high bounce rates. Once you take note of this, you can adjust your campaigns to lock out these fraudulent individuals.
Use anti-click-fraud software
Finally, to counter automated click fraud, you can use technology to compete against technology. For example, there has been a rise in anti-click-fraud software or click fraud protection software that will block most of these fraudulent clicks.
You need to take full charge of your PPC campaigns by not allowing click fraud to eat up most of your budget. While this is a major problem, you can competitively tackle it and gain better value from your Google ads.