Invalid clicks costs marketers millions in lost revenue and opportunity every year. If you’re running AdWords campaigns it’s imperative to plug this potential drain of your marketing resources ASAP.
Google considers invalid click activity as any clicks or impressions that artificially inflates an advertiser’s costs, or a publisher’s earnings. Despite Google’s Ad Traffic Quality team monitoring traffic across its ad network in an effort to prevent advertisers from paying for invalid traffic, click fraud remains rampant.
And because 97 percent of Google”s $33 billion in revenue last year came from advertising, they consider protecting against this type of fraud paramount. The company recently launched an in-depth Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center designed for both advertisers and publishers so there is no excuse not to be paying attention.
Five things your team should know about invalid clicks.
1. Monitoring your Ad Traffic
If you want a job done right, you should do it yourself. Of course Google is looking out for you, but you obviously have your own best interests at heart. So it only makes sense to keep an eye on it.
Here’s a few quick monitoring tips:
- Segment your ad traffic using channels.
- Be aware of who’s visiting your site, and how.
- Avoid partnering with untrusted / low-quality parties.
- Don’t click on your own ads, even if you think it’s okay to do so.
- Double- and triple-check your implementation.
- Use the authorized sites feature to prevent unauthorized use of your ad code.
2. Be Wary of Third-Party Click Tracking Methods
Although you’ll want to be proactive monitoring your website and ad traffic, click tracking via third-party software or custom ad implementations can be a risky propositions for you and your business for two primary reasons:
- These methods can inadvertently disclose sensitive information about your website to a third-party;
- And can also disrupt Google’s ad delivery or click logging in a way that violates the company’s Terms and Conditions.
And besides, the best click tracking efforts of third-party sources may not even provide you significantly more information than your AdWords or Analytics reports. Work these channels to help gain greater insights into your account.
3. Let Google do Some of the Work
Google uses real-time detection and filtering systems to examine each click on an AdWords ad. In effect, they look at several sources of data points for each click, including the time of the click, duplicate clicks, and various other click patterns.
The system uses these factors to analyze, isolate and then filter out potentially invalid clicks before they ever reach your account. reports.
Once potentially invalid clicks are identified by the systems, a member of Google’s team examines the affected account to learn more about the source of the potentially invalid clicks.
4. Monitor, Report and Receive
As should already be clear, protecting advertisers’ interests through continued monitoring is keyto keep the network a balanced ecosystem where users, publishers, and advertisers can all grow and thrive together.
And once irregularities in this system are discovered and later determined clicks are determined to be fraudulent, Google returns earnings from disabled AdWords accounts to affected advertisers. If you’re watching your campaigns you should be able to protect yourself from fraud.
5. It may not be Invalid Clicks that has your Campaign Sputtering
A depleted budget early in the day does not necessarily mean something shady is going on with your account. In fact, more often than not there is a legitimate reasons as to why your daily budget gets expended earlier than you expected. Here are a few:
- Your daily budget may not be high enough to accommodate the amount of traffic that your ads receive each day. You may need to Optimize your account, decrease your cost-per-click bid or increase your daily budget.
- Changes in Web content and user behavior may affect the serving of your ad.
- Recent trends, news items, or current events at times dramatically influence the number of impressions and clicks you receive.
- Different times of the day may yield more valuable traffic for your ad.
- If you recently changed your ad delivery method to ‘Accelerated’, your daily budget may deplete faster than anticipated.