What is Click Fraud?
Click fraud is the idea that you have competitors out there who are constantly clicking on your Google ads so that you waste money. Because of this “problem”, there are a number of software companies that have come to the rescue and they’re offering a “solution”. Basically what this software does is that it starts to track the IP addresses of everyone who’s clicking on your ad. When they notice that multiple clicks are coming from the same IP, they will then ban that IP address from within your campaign. (There’s a place in Google ads where you can actually ban IP addresses.)
So that’s what the softwares do. They assume that when you’re getting multiple clicks from the same IP address, you should then ban that IP address because that is click fraud.
What is the problem with Click Fraud?
There are a couple of issues with click fraud. First of all, for most businesses, we want people to come to our website more than once. A lot of people don’t make a decision right away. They are going to be looking around, doing some research, and then eventually coming back to our website. We want people like that coming to our site. That’s why we run retargeting campaigns. These are some of our hottest prospects! And this click fraud software blocks those people from seeing our ads again in the future.
Now the only exception to this, the only time I think click fraud prevention might be helpful is with emergency services. Someone who would never have a reason to come to your website more than once.
But here’s the thing…
GOOGLE ALREADY PREVENTS CLICK FRAUD!
They already do this for you! Google monitors for invalid clicks and they do not charge you for them.
Here’s what Google has to say with invalid clicks:
You can see in this example on the screen, Google is showing hundreds of invalid clicks in this campaign. These are the clicks that the advertiser was not charged for. You can go into any campaign, and you will see invalid clicks that Google has tracked and has not charged you for.
Google has some of the most sophisticated artificial intelligence systems in the world. Do you really think there are companies out there who can do a better job of preventing click fraud than Google itself?
I actually put this to the test. I’ve never been a fan of these click fraud prevention programs. But I had a client who was using one of these services. I talked them into removing it so we could see how it goes and test or compare the results.
This was a local service business, it was a high-end massage studio. And this business didn’t have more than a few dozen competitors in their area. Guess how many IP addresses were being excluded in the campaign because of this click fraud prevention software? Over 500! They didn’t have that many competitors within a thousand miles, but somehow the click fraud prevention program decided that there were fraudulent clicks coming from over 500 different IP addresses. So I removed the 500 blocked IPs. I removed the click fraud prevention software, and here’s what happened.
In the month before removing the software, the business received 86 leads at an average cost of $34.98 per lead. (This was calculated based on form submissions and first-time callers. So I was not calculating repeat business at all.) In the month immediately after removing the software, the business received 111 leads at an average cost of $25.88 per lead. That’s a 29% increase in new leads! That’s after removing the very software that’s supposed to be helping!
Click fraud prevention software does more harm than it does good. Google already monitors click fraud for you. These third-party programs exclude people from seeing your ads, people who actually should be showing your ad to. It excludes some of your hottest prospects.
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