Click fraud. If you’re a digital marketer, you’ve probably heard the term or one of its variables mentioned: Ad fraud, invalid traffic, bot clicks, fake clicks…
These all basically add up to the same end result: You are spending money on clicks that won’t convert.
There are things you can do to your ads to reduce your exposure to click fraud. Yes, we are a click fraud prevention solution, so, spoiler alert: The easiest way to prevent click fraud is to use our software.
Find out more about click fraud and why it matters in our guide
But, there are steps you can take to block (or minimise) those fake clicks manually in the meantime.
So if you want to know how to prevent click fraud on your paid search or display ads, this is for you.
1. Fine tune your targeting
Broad targeting leaves your ad campaign wide open to click fraud. To minimise your chances of fake clicks and invalid traffic on your ads, optimise your ad demographic and targeting especially by geographic location.
Google lets you get pretty granular with geo-location, so if you’re not up to speed, definitely take a look at their targeting tips so you can focus your ad spend.
You can exclude entire countries and locations that you don’t want clicking on your ads, or even get down to specific towns or zip codes.
If you don’t already use some kind of geo-targeting then this is an important first step to reduce click fraud on your ads.
2. Monitor your traffic daily
Fraudulent traffic can come in waves, it’s not necessarily consistent. If you spot a trend of peaks in traffic volume, or high volumes of clicks with low conversions, see if you can spot a pattern.
Looking at the data of ClickCease clients, it’s hard to predict when a traffic surge will happen, as web traffic, especially IVT, can be caused by a wide variety of factors. We have seen that fraudulent traffic surges during popular seasons such as Black Friday or the Christmas shopping rush, but there are often other unseen influences that cause fraud clicks to increase.
The best thing to do is take a look every day, ideally morning and afternoon. Keep a record of your traffic and if you see any suspect activity try to identify what has caused the surge, or if there are any IP addresses or geo-locations you can exclude.
3. Set up IP exclusion lists
If you’re keeping a close eye on your click traffic, you might start to spot IP addresses that need blocking. A give away that an IP address needs to be blocked is usually:
- Clicking at unusual or irregular times
- Multiple clicks in short time frames
- Unusually high traffic
Manually blocking IP addresses can be tricky though as it’s hard to quantify exactly what the traffic is doing. Sometimes multiple clicks to your ad might be from a company doing their research on your business prior to becoming a client, others might be malicious clicks from a business rival.
In short, you want to be careful not to prevent clicks from genuine customers.
Using a n automated click fraud solution with an IP blacklist, such as ClickCease, takes the hassle (and the guesswork) out of managing a manual IP exclusion list.
4. Check your display ad placements
Did you know you can check where your banner ads have been displayed? If you want to check out the sites that are hosting your ads, you can follow Google’s instructions to see if the site is quality or not.
Many sites are setup simply to host ads. Publishers then push poor quality traffic to their sites inflate the pay-out from ad revenue (this is classic ad fraud behaviour).
If you check a site and it looks like it’s mostly full of poor quality or plagiarised content, coupled with lots of ad banners and popups, chances are its a site designed specifically for ad fraud.
Although Google and the ad platforms have clamped down on these in recent years, there are still plenty of them out there. So, to prevent click fraud on your banner ad placements, be sure to check out any sites delivering traffic that seems too good to be true.
5. Don’t run your ads 24/7
Running ads around the clock does mean you target that highly profitable insomniac niche, but it’s also a magnet for click fraud.
Ads that run outside of your time zones waking hours stand more chance of being hit by bots and click farms from other geos. Dayparting, as the technique is called, involves stopping and starting your ads at the best time to target genuine users.
You’ll need to have enough data to work out when your best time for conversions happens. But once you do, you can time your ads so you’re not just targeting owls, bots and other nocturnal dwellers.
Bonus: Yes you guessed it….
To make it easier on yourself, signing up for click fraud prevention is actually pretty cost effective.
When you consider that ClickCease costs from $50 a month and most of our clients save well over $1000 from fraud clicks each month, manually blocking click fraud seems like more hassle than it’s worth. After all, how much is your time worth? You could probably free up a lot of your time for $50.
On top of that, the less fraud clicks, the better your ROAS and, believe it or not, the less your CPC.
- We’re the industry leading click fraud prevention solution with over 2 million campaigns protected worldwide
- This also means we have the biggest and fastest growing IP exclusion list of known fraud sources
- ClickCease is easy to set up and offers an intuitive and easy to use dashboard, giving you invaluable additional insight into your ad campaigns
- Click fraud is an evolving practice, meaning fraud happens from different sources at different times. But our software is constantly learning and staying on top of these challenges daily (so you don’t have to)
- A rolling contract means you’re not tied in if your circumstances change
- Most of our clients see big improvements to their ad spends and their ROAS within days of getting started
Of course, you should totally try out these tips to manually prevent click fraud on your Google Ads.
Or save yourself the hassle and sign up for our free trial…