As the years move forward, so do people’s obsession with online media. According to The Digital 2019 report by HootSuite and We Are Social, the average user spends nearly seven hours online every day. This behavior has only further increased today, now that we’re encouraged to stay in our homes. As such, if you want to display ads for your business, the best place to do so is online. Aside from generating interest for your company, there are many metrics that can be acquired from these ads that will help push your company forward. Digital marketing agency Ayima outlines how analytics and digital marketing are used by the world’s biggest brands to learn about consumer trends. By using this information companies can place their ads in the right locations to reach a much wider audience base, therefore expanding their target market.
Plus, digital ads have one perk: you only pay per click. And while that’s good in theory (after all, only interested users will click on an ad), this could be equally damaging without the right precautions.
That’s right, we’re talking about click frauds.
What is click fraud?
As per our discussion on ‘Understanding Hackers’, there are many kinds of offenders around the world, all fueled by the prospect of monetary gain. But one of the worst types are those who participate in click fraud. If an ad gets displayed on a website, its owner will earn money based on the number of clicks it produces. Click fraudsters take advantage of the situation and develop bots that click business ads over-and-over, forcing them to give up generous sums of money.
How to protect yourself from click fraud?
It’s difficult to prevent something that you have no control over. However, there is one thing you can do, and that’s always to audit your campaigns. Popular forensic tools like AdWatcher and ClickDefense offer tracking reports, informing you where the clicks are coming from. If you see common sources, submit the details of your investigations to your search engine provider. If they find your investigation true, they’ll very likely waive the costs of those clicks.
In fact, some of them even offer specialized services for tracking clicks from your competitors. You may not want to hear it, but digital marketing strategist Adam Brummitt informs that click fraudsters are sometimes hired by competitors to take a company down. Fortunately, once you discover a potential fraudulent click source, you can block their IP address, preventing it from messing with your future campaigns.
Don’t search engines offer click forensics?
While they aren’t the most accurate, search engines like Google and Bing have already done some of the forensics work for you. This is why in your ad reports you get a lot of “invalid” clicks that aren’t charged. However, search engines crawl through a lot of information so they can’t accurately determine the nature of every click. This is why it is encouraged that business owners learn about the ins-and-outs of data security and fraudulent activity. To this end, it’s best to conduct investigations as frequently as you can.
Click frauds can be very damaging to a business, and not just because they have the potential to lose you a lot of money. If you don’t audit your campaigns, you could lose track of your goals, for example, or waste resources reaching the wrong people. If you hadn’t cared to do your click forensics before, you should definitely be doing so now.