The Click Fraud Protection Blog | ClickCease

What are Invalid Clicks and How Do They Affect You?


A major concern for businesses running AdWords campaigns is invalid clicks. Even if you aren’t familiar with the term, if you use AdWords, you are probably aware of the concern.


What are AdWords invalid clicks?

The term “invalid clicks” encompasses a few different elements, including accidental clicks, automated clicks, and manual clicks.


Accidental clicks come from people who may unintentionally click on your link. Manual invalid clicks, often by competitors who are trying to drain your account, cost you money or skew your data insights (including the use of “click farms”, large amounts of people who are hired, usually overseas, to click on links in order to negatively impact AdWords campaigns).  Automated clicks are similar to manual clicks but are often bots or other software, created by competitors or malicious actors, who are trying to drain your account and bury your campaign.


Invalid clicks are a serious business challenge, but how do you detect them? How do you protect your AdWords campaigns against them? We will explain further and help you understand how to make sure your clicks are valid and valuable.


How do I see them in my AdWords account?

Many people miss a very important step when setting up their AdWords accounts. When you create a campaign, the default setting is People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations (recommended). While this filter is recommended, if you feel your campaign is negatively affected by invalid clicks, it might be time to investigate further and try new settings. Refine your audience by changing your settings to People in your targeted locations.


Next, click on Campaigns. There you will see three columns (highlighted in the image below). Click on Modify columns.

Modify your columns for your campaign by selecting Invalid click rate and Invalid Clicks. Then press apply.

You will see that Invalid click rate and Invalid click columns have been added to your campaigns, and you will now be able to tell which campaigns have been most negatively affected by invalid clicks.


The Difference Between AdWords  Invalid Clicks and Click Fraud

Invalid clicks and fraudulent clicks are not exactly the same thing. Though their definitions are often lumped together, there are subtle difference between the two.


“Invalid clicks” is an umbrella term that includes fraudulent clicks, and is defined by Google as “Clicks on ads that Google considers to be illegitimate, such as unintentional clicks or clicks resulting from malicious software.” However it includes such things as accidental clicks and extraneous clicks that provide no value to the advertiser, like 2nd click of a double-click.


Invalid clicks can often be detected by Google and will show up in your AdWords analytics. These clicks are irregular or inflated, causing Google to assume they are not genuine. The challenge for businesses is that while Google may be able to rectify these after the fact (to some extent), it’s too late, as your ads missed out on being shown to potential customers.


Get Protected Against AdWords Invalid Clicks

Google does an OK job to prevent invalid clicks, but their efforts are often not enough. This is where a click-monitoring service can help.


ClickCease will monitor your clicks 24/7. You can set your own parameters for who receives your ads in order to ensure that only potential customers see them. We track every single click on your campaign, and can provide you with valuable insights including where geographically your clicks are coming from, how users interact with your website, and an analysis of which clicks are authentic and which are fake.


Google is great, but ClickCease will serve you exclusively, making sure that you only get real, valuable clicks. Once a fraudulent click is detected, your ad will get hidden from the fraudulent party. It’s time you control your ads, not the other way around!


Ilan Missulawin

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