Google AdWords is one of the best paid marketing platforms on the internet. However, like every platform it does have downsides to it. One downside of using the platform is the potential for click fraud on your paid ads.
Click fraud happens when an individual or group of individuals click on your ad repeatedly for the purpose of making your ad campaign expensive. It reduces your return on investment, and hurts your overall marketing strategy.
While some click fraud is possible in every ad platform, Google has had this problem for a long time.
Fortunately, business have the ability to prevent click fraud from running rampant. The strategies below can help you accomplish this.
#1 Use Social Media Ads– Facebook and Twitter ads can be useful alternative ad sources, because unlike Google ads these ads are only shown on their respective social network. One of the greatest risks with Google is they use a large network of publishers.
These publishers put the ads on their site, and have incentives to get as many clicks as possible to increase their traffic. Often publishers click on the ads to increase the clicks, or third party competitors do so from third party websites.
Social media ads on the other hand are specifically linked to that social network. Click fraud is reduced in a more controlled environment.
Plus, the social targeting tools are better, because the social networks use the demographic and social activity data from their audience for ad targeting.
Set up IP Exclusions- One of the best ways to reduce ad fraud is also the most time intensive one. You do this through IP exclusions. Every user has an IP address. Like a home address for your internet activity. When you visit a site, you leave an IP address trail webmasters can track.
If you have a WordPress site, you can track these IP addresses by connecting your Google Analytics to your site. Then manually add code from Google Analytics allows you to track visitors to your site.
Then sit back and wait to see if any fraudulent patterns appear.
After tracking your website visitors for a few weeks, generally you can start to see the patterns.
For example, if you see one IP address repeatedly clicking on your ads, they are probably either an obsessed fan or performing click fraud to get you to pay more.
Visit Google AdWords. In the settings section under the main campaign tab, you can find the IP address exclusion box. Scroll down to the advanced section to see the IP address exclusion.
Then enter all of the fraudulent IP addresses you collected in this box. From then on, Google will not display your ads to these individuals.
This process can be a bit complicated. If you need help with this process, feel free to contact Shout. We can help you set this process up for your AdWords campaign.
Track your competitors– A number of different software solutions can help you track where your clicks come from on your websites.
Sites like ClickForensics send you detailed click tracking reports, so you can see which competitors and other common fraud sources are clicking on your ads.
Other sites like AdWatcher and ClickDefense provide additional AdWords click security tracking.
Tweak your Ad targeting– Most click fraud comes down to targeting. If you are targeting an area where you see high click fraud, then you might want to rethink your strategy.
Many worldwide advertisers might find the majority of their fraudulent clicks come from a few specific countries. By excluding visitors by language and country, you can reduce ad fraud.
If you are in multiple countries, do not remove all countries at once. Instead do it one at a time. That way you can identify the country causing the majority of your challenges. Then you do not have to limit your marketing to consumers in the other countries.
Set different bid prices on third party publishers– Another option is to set a different bid price for the display network. Then bid on ads specifically for ads run only on Google at a separate price.
The benefit here is that all clicks on Google are more accountable to the search engine. While advertising on third party platforms can be profitable, the challenge is that you have less control over who sees the ads.
That is not the case with Google. When you run an ad on Google, it happens on their network. They have more control over the users on their own website.
Create a Remarketing Campaign– The final strategy you should consider is using retargeted ad campaigns. Retargeting is when you provide ads to engaged users who visited your website in the past.
Google provides tracking codes that allows you to target these previous visitors. By doing this, you can reduce campaigns to new users that often bring in the highest number of fraudulent clicks.
In the end, be aware that some level of fraudulent clicks will happen in your campaign. The information we provide above can help you reduce the number of fraudulent clicks to your website.
Start small, and test out one or two of the strategies listed in this article. If it works, great. If not, keep testing other strategies to determine the best way to remove fraudulent clicks from your Google AdWords campaign.
If you are still having problems, then set up an appointment with one of our search engine marketing specialists to determine the best course of action to reduce click fraud.