Many advertisers contemplate ditching Google AdWords because it is a hot bed for click fraud. This may cause you to rethink your advertising strategy and perhaps moving to a different platform, such as social media. Before jumping the gun, here are a few things to consider:

There is a world of fraud out there on various platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Yelp, just to name a few.

Although social media advertising eliminates the threat of third party publishers, it is simply not enough. Malicious competitor clicks are still a threat EVERYWHERE. Social media advertising makes click fraud less likely but still not foolproof. Social media fraud is still very much a thing. Before ditching AdWords test out our DIY tips for click fraud protection.

Fake Accounts – An Endless Love Story

New year, new fake accounts.

F-f-f-fake Likes


When considering other platforms besides AdWords, Facebook is often a first thought, when trying to optimize your pay per click (PPC) campaigns. Facebook may alleviate some of the issues you were having with your AdWords campaigns.

Fake likes also known as FLikes are flooding social media platforms, especially Facebook.

Company’s acquire fake likes in order to make people think they have more likes and followers, to hopefully incentive other consumers. Fake likes may also be due to pressure from the competition to keep up on these social media platforms.

Your company may have 99 problems and fake accounts definitely is one. Fake accounts don’t engage with your brand the same way real accounts do. This hurts your rankings in the news feed causing a decrease in conversions for your company, which is a prime example of how social media advertising can work against your goals.

Fake likes are both extremely easy and relatively inexpensive, you may wonder, what is the downside?

  • Engagement – Fake users hurt engagement, which will negatively impact your impressions and one of the factors of how Facebook ranks you
  • Credibility – Thousands of followers with only a few likes or comments is a red flag that will tarnish your brand’s credibility
  • Insight – Analyzing users on social media platforms can be a crystal ball of information but fake users pollute the quality of this information
  • Boost – Not with fake users, exposing your Facebook ad to fake users will only drain your advertising budget
  • Time – Oh the time that will be wasted on getting your social media act together by cleaning out these fake users

Fake likes are a quick and easy fix but BEWARE of the repercussions.

Snapchat, Instagram, & Twitter Galore

All of these social media platforms are filled with fraud and scams that can hurt both your brand and your advertising budget. No social media platform is safe from scams.

Whether it be from fake likes that hurt your consumer engagement or fake accounts draining your advertising budget from impressions, there are similar issues in AdWords.

On Snapchat, you want your ad to be reaching real people and not just fake accounts… that won’t get you anywhere.

Instagram is a similar game, if your followers are fake this will inhibit your engagement.

LinkedIn – Even Professionals Aren’t Safe

Since LinkedIn is for professionals, you would think that fraud and scams would be less prevalent, right? WRONG

  • Advanced Fee Fraud Scams – A classic shake down for money “for just a small fee now you have a chance to win millions!” said classic popular fraud scam, even on LinkedIn
  • Job Scams – A job offer for high pay and little work, sounds too good to be true? It is.
  • Dating and Romance Scams – This may not actually be fraudulent and has the potential to be an honest person looking for love but a professional platform is certainly an unconventional way to do it

These scams and fraud leave your brand vulnerable when advertising and trying to build real professional connections.

Yelp Yelp Yelp

Another hub for fraud and scams but this time in the form of customer reviews, which has the potential to really impact your business even more than some of these other cases.

Many say Yelp is not worth your time or money, and can be the source of many headaches. For example, there are no tracking numbers, which makes it extremely difficult to collect data.

Fraud on Yelp is very real, which became apparent when “Consumer Alert” messages began popping up that indicate the company when someone has tried to pay to affect reviews (usually negatively). This message includes a CTA (call for action) that reads “Show me the evidence”, which takes you right to the source.

Commonly, this evidence is a Craigslist posting advertising for affecting Yelp reviews in turn for payment.

On Yelp, competitor clicks for ads are still a threat to your advertising budget.

Angler Phishing

According to a new report by Proofpoint, social media phishing has increased 150% from 2015 to 2016, which makes phishing the biggest fish in all the sea.

This type of fraud is rightfully named after the frightening deep-sea fish from Finding Nemo.

In this case, fraudsters impersonate banks and retailers on social media in order to get personal information from customers.

First, a customer reaches out for an inquiry to a bank or retailer using social media rather than more traditional mediums like telephone or email. Nowadays, social media is a natural way to engage with customers.

These fraudsters are skilled with making everything look and seem as legit as possible. Everything from the believable social media accounts, to identical websites, and realistic email addresses. They’re pros at making everything seem legit.

The stage these Fraudsters set is so realistic, the consumers feel comfortable disclosing personal information like login information. Bank login information for example can lead to disaster, as I’m sure you can imagine.

You may have been under the impression that phishing is a thing of the past, but even in 2016 it was still extremely prevalent. Threats like these are things to think about when considering advertising on social media platforms.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, there are fraudsters everywhere whether it be from Google AdWords or any social media platform, which is something to consider before jumping ship and switching advertising platforms. Social media fraud is extremely prevalent so proceed with caution. So it’s important to be aware of these fraudulent activities when creating and executing the best advertising strategy.