5 Ways To Prevent Click Fraud With Google Adwords
Click fraud poses a serious threat to PPC advertisers as well as to the credibility of PPC networks. As of 2008, researchers estimate $1.6 billion were lost to click fraud. It occurs when a competitor clicks on your ads to reduce your budget or when web robots or spiders to click on ads fraudulently.
Google and other PPC networks verify the existence of click frauds. They have not solved the problem as of the moment but are currently working to prevent it. As a PPC user, we can take some steps to protect our campaigns from click fraud while the networks are still finding ways to solve the problem entirely. Below are five measures you can implement in your Google Adwords campaigns:
1. Constantly monitor click-through rates. Google allows you to easily review your conversions and click-through rates. It is a good idea to print out a daily or weekly report and check for any strange activity. Check your actual web site traffic report as well and investigate IP addresses and websites that habitually access your site.
2. Impose a daily ad budget. Select a sensible budget for your campaign that you can fund for at least a few months. Imposing a budget limits your exposure to click fraud and it makes it easier for you track your Adwords expenditures.
3. Impose a daily click limit. Author Bruce C. Brown, of "The Complete Guide to Google Advertising" advises Adwords managers to impose a daily click limit on their ads. When the daily click limit has been reached, your ad is cut off from circulation. Like number two above, this also reduce the risk of click fraud while allowing you to monitor the number of clicks generated by your ad in a given period.
4. Limit your Ads to certain locations. Using the geographic location feature is one of the best methods for safeguarding your campaigns against fraudulent activities. Research where your target market is mostly based and focus on running your ads only in certain countries or regions. It would be a waste of money to run ads on regions you won't do business in.
5. Don't sign up with PPC programs that offer something for free. There are several PPC companies that offer free products, services of downloadable tools as an incentive for you to sign up. Be cautious about these, especially if it involves downloading something to your computer that 'monitors' your keyword campaign. However, getting a Google Adwords 'credit' when you sign up with a hosting company or domain name registrar is safe; as long as you're working directly with Google Adwords, you don't have to worry about fraudulent activities that would affect your budget.
If you think you've been a victim of click fraud, you will need to report the case directly to Google as soon as possible. Google has its own fraud protection team that can help to investigate a case and get your Adwords campaign back on track.