Whether it is referred to as click fraud, ad fraud, or pay-per-click fraud, fraud involving online advertising is very real. Criminals intent on ripping off advertisers will go to great lengths to do so. As for the advertisers, far too many simply accept click fraud as part of the game. It’s time to change that. It is time for advertisers to start getting serious aboaut it.
Click fraud already costs advertisers billions of dollars every year. Some estimates suggest that advertisers could lose a combined $100 billion this year alone. That is a lot of money. But consider this: total losses just five years ago were $35 billion. Click fraud losses have more than doubled since 2018.
If those numbers are not enough to get your attention, here are the top three reasons advertisers should get serious about click fraud:
1. It Decimates Return On Ad Spend
Click fraud, in all its forms, is designed to do one thing: artificially inflate clicks and impressions so as to charge advertisers more. A well-conceived ad fraud campaign can decimate an advertiser’s marketing budget. In turn, this can decimate return on ad spend (ROAS).
For all intents and purposes, ROAS is the digital marketing equivalent of return on investment (ROI). Advertisers expect a certain level of return on every dollar they spend on marketing. Because click fraud never generates legitimate traffic that could otherwise be converted into paying customers, there is absolutely no return on those fraudulent clicks.
Every fraudulent click or ad display results in money being drained from the advertiser’s marketing budget. But not a single sale will ever come from those clicks. Therefore, the advertiser’s ROAS plummets.
2. It Skews Ad Campaign Metrics
Next up, click fraud skews the metrics advertisers and marketers rely on to understand their marketing campaigns. A simple illustration would involve a first-time advertiser who is looking at total traffic and click-through rates. Having little to no experience, the advertiser sees positive numbers and assumes that everything is going well.
This could lead the advertiser to continue pumping money into what he thinks is a successful ad campaign. In reality, the numbers he is seeing are an illusion. They are skewed by fraudulent activity that makes a failing ad campaign look like it’s really succeeding.
3. It Wastes Marketing Resources
Finally, click fraud wastes marketing resources above and beyond the budget. For example, it wastes time. Marketing team members put time and effort into developing new ad campaigns, publishing ads, and then monitoring them. All that time is wasted when an ad campaign is hit by click fraud.
Marketers also invest creativity in developing new ad campaigns. They spend time doing extensive keyword research. They develop landing pages, graphics, and other tools designed to convert clicks into sales. It is all for nothing when click fraud pervades.
How to Prevent Click Fraud
Unfortunately, the experts behind the Fraud Blocker ad fraud protection software say there is no way to stop click fraud entirely. But advertisers can prevent most of it by being diligent. The first step is to utilize click fraud software that continuously monitors ad campaigns for signs of trouble.
Above and beyond software, advertisers need to be diligent about analytics. They need to make pouring over analytics data a priority. They can help prevent click fraud by only dealing with trusted publishers and ad platforms. They can report suspected fraud to Google, Facebook, etc.
Advertisers do not have to simply accept click fraud as part of the online advertising game. They can fight back. More importantly, they should fight back.