You launched a great ad campaign and invested a fair sum on PPC google ads. Your objectives were clear; generate leads, increase conversion rates and yield better returns on your investment. But at the end of it you receive a bill triple the amount of what you had allocated for the pay per click (PPC) ads and the conversions on those leads are not that high either. Or your website that once generated a steady flow of revenue through pay per click ads suddenly declined and the provider shut you down claiming you were generously contributing to the clicks to make more profit. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?
These are classic cases of fraudulent activities that plague the realm of PPC in digital marketing. When running PPC google ads or promotions on any other platform, businesses/individuals have to pay everytime someone clicks the ads. While these yield good results, they do not come without risks. If a majority of the clicks on the ad aren’t from genuine sources, that is people without actual interest in the product or service, then the resources shelled out for the ad will end up running a loss.
In most cases such deceptive tactics of maliciously clicking of the PPC ads are resorted to by:
- Competitors, firstly to increase the cost per click rate that lowers the ad score and reduces visibility of the ad. Secondly, to discourage the competition from running PPC ads by eliminating chances of conversions and increasing their per day cost.
- The other perpetrators are publishers, for obvious reasons. They get paid more for more clicks.
Though the risk of PPC scams may not be completely avoidable, its devastating effect on marketing campaigns and advertising budgets can be controlled. As a digital advertising agency in Bangalore and a leading PPC company in Bangalore, we believe that the first step in tackling the spamming problem is to identify whether frauds are affecting an ad campaign or pay per click on websites. For this the following data needs to be analyzed which will help strengthen any PPC strategy.
- IP addresses – it will help identify where the clicks are coming from.
- Click and action time stamps – the click time stamps from IP addresses without any action time stamps are a red flag.
- User-Agent – though fraudsters are known to be discreet, this can help reveal if a website is being targeted.
Being aware of PPC spam can help you stay ahead of the spammers and limit its impact. As subject matter experts and a renowned ad company in bangalore we’ve listed down the techniques to avoid being a victim to spams in any PPC campaign
1.Block fraudulent IP addresses
The advantages of blocking with modern technology are truly limitless. If you’ve thoroughly analysed the data and established that certain IP addresses may be spamming your ads, you can set up IP exclusions in Google ads to block them. This prevents your ads from being accessible or visible to those IP addresses. This can be a simple first line of defense from such fraudulent activities. However, some of these operations are very advanced and will find a way to breach that barrier, hence it is not a fool-proof technique.
2.Monitor your competition
Another preliminary preventive measure is to keep an eye on your competitors. Majority of the spam clicks usually come from other businesses competing for the same keywords. There is little to no probability that your competition would be interested to pay for your product or services, so the visits they pay your websites and ads might conceal a sinister motive to oust you.
3.Concentrate on Ad Targeting
Any branding agency in Bangalore will emphasise on the need to determine the target audience for your brand. This information directs all the advertising campaigns. The success of any ad depends on how targeted those ads are. It also ensures that they are less prone to getting spam, since they are reaching the audience that are most likely to purchase the goods and services. Pay per click means you pay every time someone clicks your ad, so the spray and pray method is highly risky since this will expose the ads to users with no intention of converting. Limiting the focus on a smaller, strategically positioned geographic area with the concerned demography is the best bet and will give you better returns.
Since you have control over how your ads are exhibited, you can look at retargeting to make them visible only to those who have already visited your website. This is a great way of reaching out to your target audience at different stages of the consumer journey and also makes it more difficult to spam your PPC ads. This method is especially effective in the case of display ads that are more vulnerable to click frauds, due to the additional risk of publisher click frauds which isn’t a problem in search ads. By retargeting your ads the publisher won’t be able to view the ads on their sites, thus eliminating the incessant clicking.
5.Limit advertising to specific countries
As a well established ad agency in Bangalore, we’ve noticed that a lot of fraudulent clicks come from specific locations, especially low-income countries. The low labor rates make these regions a hub for fraudsters to employ people to spam websites and ads. Considering this, you might want to exclude these countries from your campaign targeting, to reduce the liabilities.
6.Place different bid prices
You can limit your financial risk by setting different bids prices for content targeted sites. This can help you set limits for how much you’re willing to pay per click for an ad. This in turn limits your exposure, and helps focus on the targeted demographic as opposed to placing your ads on any website with even a slight relevance to your brand and keywords.
7.Track your PPC campaigns
It is essential that you continuously analyse and interpret the data from your ads. You cannot manage what you do not monitor. Tracking helps to keep up with how the campaign is performing and strategize accordingly. Apart from that with tools that are made so readily available, you can also view the number of clicks that didn’t yield any active responses.
8.Advertise on high-value sites
While some sites may offer lower rates and seem credible, they are usually a hotbed for PPC spam. It makes your ads highly susceptible to both competitor click frauds and publisher click frauds. Always target high value sites that are more ethical about revenue generation. You can always trust Google, which allows you to run PPC campaigns only on the site you specify.
9.Purchase relevant software programs
Fraud protection softwares that detects spam and quarantines fraudulent clicks can be useful in cases where the spam is unmanageable and adversely affecting your campaign. The investment will ultimately show returns once the risks are contained. There are also software services that provide reports of your campaign and identify suspicious activity and present fraud reports that can help strengthen your case with search engines.