The ad, button, click, or hyperlink fraud occurs when a human or machine poses as a genuine site visitor to steal click-through revenue. The objective is to deceive a service into thinking fake people are engaging with an advertisement, website, or mobile application.
One or more of a wide range of factors may contribute to click fraud. Like those behind other forms of online scamming, ad fraud perpetrators usually do it for financial gain. Sometimes businesses may intentionally target the PPC (or “pay per click”) advertisements of their rivals with false clicks to reduce the effectiveness of such advertising and so reduce their ad costs. Ideological reasons are not out of the question, as is the practice of artificially increasing a post’s number of likes or upvotes to make a certain opinion appear more widespread than it actually is. It is another method cybercriminals employ to make a malicious website rank higher in search results, giving the impression that it is authentic.
Why Does Ad Fraud Happen?
Fraud may be caused by various things, including bots or humans, although it typically originates from rival businesses or publishers.
Your rivals will do all in their power to make your marketing campaigns fail. They perform fraud to squander your money, diminish your client base, and increase the likelihood that their own advertising will appear on your site at a reduced cost each day.
More traffic to the advertising posted on a publisher’s site means more money for the publisher on display networks. For this reason, it is common. Ad fraud may be committed in several ways, including by hiring individuals to do it, doing it oneself, or using bots to carry it out. You could remove your competitor or a publisher from an ad network if they are found guilty of click fraud. In other countries, it is treated as a more serious crime, and people have even been arrested for it.
What Is the Real Cost of Ad Fraud?
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Ernst & Young estimate that $8.2 billion is lost annually in the United States’ digital marketing, advertising, and media industries due to fraud.
How Can You Prevent Ad Fraud?
Companies can take these measures to lessen the likelihood of fraud:
- Keep an eye on how others are behaving. You may detect fraud by counting the number of clicks from a questionable IP address.
- It will help if you keep abreast of what the competition is doing. Click-tracking software enables businesses to provide reports detailing click activity, such as the number of clicks and the percentage of unique clicks.
- To prevent fraud, use anti-fraud software. Anti-fraud applications monitor network traffic for suspicious or malicious behavior and immediately shut off any connections from known problematic sources.
- Make use of tools to compile reports on referrals. By consulting these statistics, you may learn more about which content-specific sites are providing an unusually high traffic volume.
- Advertising on various websites should be priced differently. Keeping the cost of individual ads low should assist reduce overall financial exposure.
It would help if you didn’t immediately assume that everything you see in your data is wrong because of the possibility of PPC ad fraud. However, there are measures you can take to detect and resolve ad fraud, and search engines are also actively attempting to combat the issue. If you work with a reputable and vigilant PPC firm, they will already be aware of the problem of ad fraud and will have already implemented tools and strategies to combat it.