If somebody were to tell you that 20% of your advertising budget was being wasted on fraud, would you be worried? If you advertise on pay-per-click search engines, such as Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture), MIVA, or others, you have reason to be concerned.
According to Cnet.com, up to 20% of all pay-per-click activity delivered to advertisers is fraudulent. Two of the most common sources include competitors trying to deplete your account by repeatedly clicking on your ads, or a search engine’s partner or affiliate increasing their own bottom line by clicking on your ads.
As an advertiser, you must rely on the effectiveness of the search engine’s fraud monitoring techniques. However, given that they stand to gain financially from fraudulent clicks (since your ad account is charged each time any click is made on your ad), there is an apparent conflict of interest.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can go about detecting click fraud. Regularly check and examine your incoming traffic for:
- sudden increases in your spending volume (unless it’s seasonal)
- keywords that normally don’t attract a lot of visitors are suddenly doing well
- multiple clicks coming from the same user/IP within a short period of time
- spikes in foreign traffic without an increase in sales
If you do not have the time or desire to monitor your traffic on your own, you can employ a 3rd party click fraud monitoring service. They range from $20- 100 per month but are able to detect fraudulent clicks that search engines can miss, and can help you get the refunds you are entitled to. Some of these companies include Whosclickingwho.com and Clicklab.com.
Click fraud is a growing problem for many advertisers. To make sure that you are not a victim, it’s necessary to take matters into your own hands: detect click fraud and get your money back.