Click Fraud: Understanding the Danger
PPC advertising is a legitimate, cost-effective way to drive targeted traffic to a site. It can be profitable for merchants, but it can also be tempting for scammers. The “Judy” malware discovered earlier this year, for example, made millions for its creators by simulating clicks on Google ads. The virus was hidden in popular apps, and cyber security experts estimate it may have infected over 35 million Android devices.
Click fraud costs marketers billions of dollars every year, and the risk continues to grow. Despite increasing danger, however, merchants don’t have to be victims. Combining the right information and due diligence can mitigate risk and safeguard long-term profitability.
In this post, we provide an overview of click fraud and outline some of the ways you can safeguard yourself and your business.
What is Click Fraud?
- Click Fraud
Click Fraud is when a third party deliberately clicks on an advertising link—a banner ad, for example—with no intention of doing business with the advertiser. It can happen with any sponsored ad or link, but it’s most prevalent (and most damaging) when done through affiliate marketing.
[noun]/* klik frawd /
Fraudulent clicks fall into two categories: manual and automated. The former involves human beings clicking a link, while automatic click fraud employs automated tools to work on a larger scale.
Types of Manual Click Fraud
Manual fraud tends to be more limited in scope because it requires warm bodies to click the ads. Manual click fraud is also harder to prove, as a human being can always say the click was accidental.
So who are the human beings doing this clicking?
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Types of Automated Click Fraud
While manual click fraud can hurt, automated fraudsters do the real damage. These are almost always affiliates trying to generate traffic through fake clicks. “Automated,” in this case, can refer to anything that streamlines or accelerates the process, including:
How Can I Protect Myself from Click Fraud?
While click fraud is rampant, determining a firm figure for the number of attacks is almost impossible. Experts predict that as much as 50% of all advertising clicks are fraudulent.
But don’t let those frightening statistics scare you away from PPC advertising altogether. PPC is still an effective resource, and can be very profitable if you safeguard yourself.
As with other forms of fraud, your best strategy is to pay attention. PPC advertising is an important part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy, so establish goals and keep a close eye on your campaigns.
Don’t judge the effectiveness of your online investment by clicks alone: test everything. Sales and conversion figures are a better indicator of success. Whatever you do, make sure the system works for you.
If you suspect you’re the victim of affiliate fraud, talk to the experts.
At Chargebacks911, we use proprietary technologies and personalized analysis to identify and prevent affiliate fraud.
Contact us today to learn more.