What Exactly Is It?
If you are unaware of what click fraud is, then now is the best time to learn about this crucial concept that can potentially put a company out of business. Click fraud occurs when either a partner publisher or competitor continuously clicks on an ad intentionally for a specific result. In some occasions a virus occurs that will also make an ad the target of click fraud. In the case of partner publisher clicking on the ad continuously, they will do this to try and squeeze more money out of Google or Yahoo! by making it seem like the ad is more popular than what it actually is in reality. This will drive up the price for the advertiser and will also decrease the quality of Google or Yahoo’s advertising network. That type of click fraud is commonly referred to as Network Click Fraud. The other major type of click fraud is known as Competitor Click Fraud. This kind of click fraud is done when a competitor tries to raise the competing companies marketing cost. They will intentionally click on the competitors ad over and over so their marketing costs on the Google ad network will skyrocket and go high over the original budget plan. The goal for the culprit competitor is to try and put the other company out of business, or at least try to have them cut their pay per click program on Google, giving more access to their ads. In the case of a virus or bot that drives up the clicks on an ad, Google has tools that will detect where the problem is and what caused it, and will reimburse a company for any fraudulent clicks.
Has Your Company Been Targeted? What You Can and Should D0-
If you suspect that your company has been the target of click fraud then there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening again, and try to claim money back that was stolen based on click fraud. Some signs that your company may have been a target of such either network or competitor click fraud can be a major increase in the pay per click cost in a short amount of time, such as from $1,200 one month to $25,000 the next month. That would be a huge indication that a company has been subjected to click fraud. If a company runs ads with Google and has a contract with them, they can simply contact Google claiming they are a target of click fraud and Google will run an investigation. According to Google’s ad contract, they will reimburse a company for the bad clicks. Not only does Google run the investigation when a company files a complaint, they run tests and monitor PPC ads during the start of any ad contract made with them. If a company does not run ads with Google, then simply follow some steps to monitor click fraud and prevent it from happening. These steps include using free programs that will monitor and track the number of clicks on your ads, what IP address the clicks are coming from, and what competitors have been clicking on your ads. It is a good idea to always monitor the advertising campaign, and Google offers two free tools for users that use the Adwords program. The tools are Campaign performance and Account performance and will allow a company to see the number and percentage of clicks Google has classified as invalid. Another thing a company can do when deciding where to run ads is to target high-value sites which can be done if the company has an ad contract with Google or Yahoo! With Google and Yahoo!, a company can choose where to run their ads and will choose trustworthy sites that will be a lesser threat of click fraud. If a company does not specify where they want their ads to be run, they are susceptible to be targeted by lower valued sites that may commit click fraud on their ad to boost the owner’s PPC revenues. Another good step to take to prevent click fraud is to purchase programs that will generate daily, weekly, and monthly reports that will track who visits your site and from where they were being sent originally. Follow these steps and take action so your company is not the next target of click fraud.