Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has become one of the most common types of advertising, but with that, problems have arisen. Ad fraud is one of the biggest problems associated with PPC advertising, so anybody who uses it as part of their marketing plan should understand how PPC fraud works. Fortunately for you, we've got all you need to know about what PPC fraud is, how it works, and what you can do to combat it.
How Does PPC Work?
No matter what type of advertising you use, you have to pay for the ad. With traditional advertising, you simply pay a flat rate based on the perceived value of the ad. However, that isn't a very effective method of advertising since it doesn't tell you is whether the ads are reaching your target audience.
PPC advertising aims to solve that problem by allowing you to pay for advertising solely based on interaction with the ad. Instead of paying a one-time fee to have your ad placed on a website or a search engine results page, you only pay for each click your ad gets. It is a great way to advertise because it ensures the advertiser gets the most bang for their buck by only paying for ad interactions. Additionally, it's easy to measure how many people clicked on an ad, making PPC a fairly simple form of advertising for all parties involved.
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The Problem with PPC
Despite offering a lot of great benefits, there's one problem with PPC: results can be manipulated. Because PPC uses such a simple metric to determine whether a website visitor has interacted with an ad, that metric can easily be faked to make the ad appear more successful than it actually was.
Considering the switch from pay-per-impression (PPI) to PPC advertising was primarily due to PPI having ineffective metrics, this is a significant problem. You should be able to purchase PPC advertising without having to worry that the click numbers might be artificial, and you may end up paying more than you should have. The first step in learning how to combat this type of fraud is understanding exactly how it works.
When you start an advertising campaign, you should always have a budget for how much you're willing to spend to ensure a successful campaign. However, this can be a little tricky with PPC ads, especially if you become a victim of ad fraud.
PPC fraud, ad fraud, or click fraud are terms used to describe fraudulent activity involving PPC advertising. Since clicks are essentially the currency of this form of advertising, they're the central piece to the puzzle. The goal of PPC fraud is to artificially increase ad clicks, so you pay more money. It's a perfect crime in many ways since it would merely look like the ad performed exceptionally well. However, you can tell if you've become a victim of click fraud if your bounce rate suddenly skyrockets. Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that leave your website after a short time, which would be the case for every fraudulent click on your ad.
What makes PPC fraud so difficult to deal with is the complexity of it. While clicks are a straightforward metric for measuring advertising impressions, impression fraud experts take things a step further by creating sophisticated BOT scripts that allow them to manipulate a PPC ad with no manual effort. Fraudsters use these scripts to emulate thousands of ad clicks and timed site visits, so the clicks appear to be genuine.
The cost of PPC fraud can be massive. Let's say you're paying $1 per click; during a regular month, you might spend a few thousand on PPC advertising. If a fraudster emulates 10,000 clicks on your ad to drive up its price, you suddenly have another $10,000 added to your advertising bill. For small- and medium-sized business owners, that's just not an option.
Protecting from PPC Fraud
A good piece of news about PPC fraud is that there are ways to protect your business from it and prevent it from happening to you. Protecting yourself from PPC fraud starts with having a way to identify fraud as it's happening in realtime, which is the system you get when you invest in PPC fraud detection services.
An ad fraud detection service, like Anura, gives you an automated way to fight back against PPC fraud. Every click request is processed through the fraud detection system, and fraudulent traffic is flagged automatically, so you don't have to worry about manually reviewing each click request. Having an ad fraud detection system helps you reduce wasted resources and allows you to spend more time focusing on your business and how you can grow it.
Besides helping you spot ad fraud, Anura can help you understand your click traffic data in a simpler way. All of the data Anura analyzes is displayed in a convenient dashboard that provides insights into your website traffic. The reporting API allows you to take that data and analyze it in whatever way you want. And if you ever need help with anything, Anura has quick-start guides and documentation, or you can use the email and phone support systems if you still need some help.
With 25% of the traffic on the internet being fraudulent, it's more important than ever to protect your business and filter out that traffic. With an ad fraud detection service like Anura, you don't have to worry about ad fraud costing you time or money. If you're sick of dealing with ad fraud, get Anura today and see the difference for yourself.