Each year invalid clicks cost online marketers millions of pounds in lost revenue and missed opportunities. If you are planning on running an AdWords campaign or are currently running an AdWords campaign it is vital that you stop this potentially crippling drain of marketing resources and funds.
According to Google an invalid click and invalid click activity is defined as “any clicks or impressions that artificially inflate an advertiser’s costs, or a publisher’s earnings.” Even with all the precautions and security measures taken by Google’s Ad Traffic Quality team – click fraud is still a major issue.
Last year around 90% of Google’s $74 billion revenue came from advertising – so they are committed to protecting users against issues such as click fraud. The company recently launched an in-depth Ad Traffic Quality Resource Centre designed for both advertisers and publishers.
Monitor Your Ad Traffic
Although Google will help monitor the traffic that your ads generate, it is imperative that you also monitor all the traffic and statistics yourself. Some of the easiest ways to monitor traffic are listed below:
Segmenting Ad Traffic: This breaks down traffic based on different channels, making it easier for you to determine the affect these sources are having on the traffic.
Know Who’s Visiting Your Site: Using Google Analytics will help you understand the sources of your traffic as well as looking for any suspicious activity or behaviours.
Don’t Click Your Own Ads: If you click your own ad it can raise a very large red flag to Google, who filter all ad activity. Google may see this as trying to inflate your own earnings with the possibility of disabling the account altogether.
Partnering with low quality sites: Invalid clicks and traffic may increase when working with questionable and untrustworthy ad networks and directories. Always make sure any partnerships are made with high quality sites that have strong online reputations.
Google Will Take On Some Of The Work
Google will use a real-time detection and filtering system to monitor and examine each click on your AdWords advertisement campaign. When looking at the click Google examines several data points and factors including:
- Time click was made
- Any duplicate clicks on the ad
- Any other relevant click patterns
When it comes to invalid clicks Google will follow a series processes to investigate any potential click fraud. The automated algorithms proactively filter clicks, to make sure that the account is never charged (these discarded clicks can be viewed in your account).
Offline analysis uses automated algorithms alongside manual analysis to detect any offline invalid clicks and then credit the account of the advertiser.
In more serious cases Google will conduct a full investigation and will resolve the matter within days.
Users often get very worried if they see that the majority of their AdWords budget has been spent up early in the day. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that anything untoward is happening with your account – before looking for invalid clicks you should consider the following factors:
- The daily budget which you have set may not be enough to take care of the traffic that the ads will receive on a daily basis. Have a look at re-optimising your ad, your bid for each click or simply increasing the budget for your campaign.
- Trends including recent breaking news can greatly impact on the traffic your ads generate
- Ad settings including ad delivery methods set to ‘accelerate’ speeds up the occurrence of your ads, which will use your daily budget very quickly
- The time of day your ad is being delivered will also have an impact. Different times of the day could yield more valuable traffic and your ads should be targeted at these times.
If you have checked these factors then it is likely that you are suffering from invalid clicks.
Invalid clicks can be a real problem for your Google AdWords campaign, always make sure you monitor the campaign closely, look at your daily budgets and utilise the tools provided by Google to protect yourself from click fraud.