When it comes to promoting your business online, digital platforms don’t seem any less than a battlefield. Earlier it was easier to make a robust online presence with significantly less probability of failure, and now it is an ongoing game. Your responsibility as a business owner is not limited to your customers only, but you have to take care of some uninvited guests that come along. A common scam happening throughout digital platforms, leaving the marketers vulnerable, is – Click Fraud.
Are you investing heavily in online marketing campaigns, hiring the best content marketing team, and generating organic traffic? But all you get at last is nothing but just fake clicks! Did you know that digital marketers lose around $5.8 billion in advertising globally? These vast losses can indeed determine your success rates. To understand click fraud, let us first know what PPC is.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
It is a process of digital marketing where the advertisers have to pay the publisher each time the ads get a click. This is usually considered a better way to engage with customers. It is noted that there is a 50 percent increased chance of buying a product through PPC ads than a customer organically reaches out to an online ad. These ads are usually associated with the top search engines. PPC aims to get your website on the top of the search list and is affordable too.
Defining Click Fraud
Click fraud happens only with pay-per-click advertisements. Suppose you are providing ads to your publisher and getting a decent amount of ROI because Google ads have more than 3 percent of the conversion rates of the PPC ads. But what would happen if your ads are getting clicked, even more than usual, but you are getting almost no profit out of it? This is a situation of click fraud.
Click fraud, also known as pay-per-click fraud, is an unauthorized way of clicking an online ad repeatedly to generate or pull inorganic traffic to a website. This method tricks the website owner into believing that the business is developing more traffic, but in reality, it is of no use, and you have to pay for the clicks which are not real. It can also destroy your brand image.
Types Of Click Fraud
Click fraud can potentially make businesses run out of budget and even out of the competitive league. Often this scam is very tricky and hard to identify; even until we realize that we are being scammed, it’s already too late. Therefore, it is essential to understand why people do click fraud and what they get out of it. There are two types of click fraud:-
- Business competitors do click fraud to make other businesses run off their marketing expenses. Well, competition can be challenging enough, and we need to strive constantly to stay in the league. But some companies go the extra mile to use unfair ways to compete. As a business owner, if you get enough clicks but no conversion, you will start doubting yourself and your products, which is what your competitor wants. Moreover, not getting enough conversions means your website will lower in ranking.
- Click fraud can also happen from the publisher’s side. In the PPC ads process, the marketer pays the publisher each time the ad gets clicked. In the greed for money, publishers themselves click on the ads repeatedly to make more profits. Hence, be careful while dealing with publishers and always go for authentic and experienced ones.
Steps To Prevent Click Fraud
Let’s face the fact: there is no best way to eliminate click fraud. If we are aware of these scams, then we can do our bit to minimize their effects. Here are some proven steps by Faisal Abidi that you can take to prevent click fraud:-
Click Fraud Protection Software
There are enough click fraud prevention tools and services available to give you a frictionless digital campaign experience. Running an online business and taking care of the scams is a bit of a task. But thanks to companies who take care of the frauds aspect so you can run your business with focus. Blindly trusting a click fraud software or a company is not advisable. It is always best to keep checking your website’s dashboard and see what kind of results these tools are creating.
Increase Social Media Usage
Shifting your focus from website to social media ads is not bad. For instance, Facebook is one of the best social media platforms available, with maximum numbers of the global population. Website ads are more keyword-oriented, where anyone can reach you through trendy words. But Facebook ads are less keyword-focused, even if they are more flexible. It already has enough information about its users, making it easier to reach your target audience without any interference from third-party owners.
Redesigning and retargeting your ads
Showcasing your ads everywhere and to every customer makes you more susceptible to both types of click fraud scams. Not only competitors but publishers can also take advantage here. Therefore, more emphasis is put on deciding your target audience first. If you redesign and target your ads to only those customers who visited your websites earlier, you are in a safer position of not getting scammed. You can decide the country, age group, and genre in which you want to display ads. Getting focused attention is more in a business than getting universal attention. Do your research, and then allocate your ads accordingly.
Google IP Address Removal
Google ads tool has an option to remove the IP address permanently from your website, which seems to be suspicious. Removing an IP address means the blocked user can never open your website again. This is not a full-proof method because you may block a genuine visitor.
Summing up, click fraud, as we have discussed, is not easy to identify. However, search engines like Google are doing their best to protect their users from click fraud. For a business owner, it is vital to use every method possible to safeguard your marketing campaign. It is predicted that advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will eliminate click fraud from its roots. Until then, we can follow the above steps to combat click fraud.