Is your campaign seeing irregular activity? Is the phone not ringing enough and the steady stream of leads suddenly coming to a business killing halt?
You might be seeing high volumes of invalid traffic, or click fraud, on your Google Ads. The reactive way of dealing with this is filing for a refund for Invalid Traffic from Google. Here is how to go about it:
- Does Google really offer refunds for invalid traffic claims?
- How often can you file an Google Ads refund claim?
- How much will I get back from my invalid traffic refund claim?
Answers to all of these questions and more in this post, so read on.
Can I claim for invalid traffic from Google Ads?
Yes you can. They do have support for advertisiers who think they need to claim a refund, and here is the link:
It’s best to follow some guidelines for filling in the refund claim form for Google Ads.
- Be specific and include as much information as you can only on what you think are relevant clicks.
- CTR spikes – in the form you have an option to include specific keywords that you believe are bringing in invalid traffic. Check the CTR’s and look for X2 increases that are abnormal. This is a strong indicator of click fraud.
- Past Credit – Google Ads do occasionally add credit to your account due to invalid traffic. Make sure that you are not adding items that have already been credited to your account.
- WebLogs – If you want AdWords to take your claim seriously, adding your weblogs will give your claim a stronger case. Where to find your logs?
What else can I do to try help the investigation of fraudulent traffic?
- Location Targeting Settings– Make sure you have set them correctly before filing for traffic that happened from locations you thought should not be clicking. Setting to People in my targeted location should prevent click fraud that originates from other countries
- Enable Auto-tagging– this generates a unique identifier that appends every paid click.
- Click Fraud monitoring service – A third part will save you time and will send the form for you in the most accurate way. ClickCease offers a personal refunds claim manager as part of the anti-click fraud service.
How much can I expect to get refunded from Google?
Google do have processes in place to stop invalid traffic, but it is widely considered to be short of the mark. So, on occasion, you might get a refund to your Google Ads for a few dollars thanks to Google flagging up suspicious clicks or a web scraper.
However, what often happens is marketers look at their accounts and realise that actually there is much more shady traffic than first thought.
The actual amount can vary, but from what we’ve seen Google normally process a small percentage of the invalid clicks that we spot here at ClickCease.
And… Just because you filed a claim doesn’t mean you will get refunded a dime. Very often you will get a template response saying: “We’ve looked at your Google Ads activity and at this time, we don’t believe there is any claim for a refund”. Or words to that effect.
Getting a Google Ads refund for invalid traffic can be fiddly and frustrating. It takes weeks to process and very often you will get a notification that nothing was found on your behalf.
How does click fraud prevention differ from Google’s filters?
Applying for a refund for invalid traffic is usually what happens after you’ve flagged up suspicious behaviour. So, why aren’t these clicks being picked up, and what can you do differently?
Google uses click fraud filters that many feel are too lenient. They might spot obvious bots or web scrapers, or even flag up an accidental second click from a fat fingered web user.
Click fraud prevention such as ClickCease uses more specialized invalid traffic tagging, designed to prevent those clicks before they happen. This means real time protection from known fraud sources and the increasingly sophisticated networks of bots and click farms.
It also means that we flag up suspicious traffic for you the advertiser review, and choose whether to block or allow. This includes traffic from VPNs, mulitple clickers and much more.
The majority of PPC ad campaigns are affected by click fraud. The average is around 14%, with some businesses seeing around 60% of all ad clicks from non-genuine sources.
To run an audit on your Google Ads, Bing Ads or Facebook Ads campaigns, sign up for a free trial of ClickCease. Our no-obligation 7 day trial will give you invaluable insight into your ad traffic, and could save you more than just the cost of a refund from Google Ads.