click fraud

Big Brother Google Series

Put the violin away. google Doesn't care.

Ever examine your Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) manager and notice your CTR is incredible?!  Wow!  My Ad is so good I’m getting an 11% CTR!!!  But… why isn’t anybody converting on my landing page?  Do I need to redo the landing page again?………. Maybe not.

There Is NOAlgorithm

Have you ever talked or chatted with a Google Rep about suspicious clicks?  Often you will be told that their algorithm detects invalid clicks and protects you so don’t worry…  There is no algorithm to do this.  Well there is one but it’s useless and will not protect you from getting buried by a competitor.  The so called algorithm might detect 10 clicks in 30 seconds from a bot or confused clicker but will definitely not protect you from actual fraud – as in a competitor targeting you.  Nobody committing click fraud is stupid enough to click on your Ad 10 times in 30 seconds.  They will spread it out and change IP addresses simply by using a phone and roaming or turning airplane mode off/on to get a new IP address.

Server Logs Are A Way Of Blowing You Off

You call Google and insist that there is click fraud so the rep has you send a server log.  Your server logs can show the IP address and even physical ID of the mobile device or PC used.

The problem with the logs?  Google doesn’t actually look at them.  They file them away and automatically within about 72 hours send you a generic email that no fraud was detected.

IF Google Cared

If Google cared they would have an algorithm that detected multiple Ad clicks from the same device and not IP address.  If one of your competitors clicks on your Ad over and over – even over several days – a real algorithm would detect it’s the same device and nullify the charges.  The reality is that click fraud can account for as much as 50% of your Ad costs (typical number) and Google benefits greatly from this.  In this scenario Google is a co-conspirator helping commit fraud as they are financially enriched by this.

Final Word

With no competition and/or Government oversight Google will continue to write the rules as it goes and there will be no answer to click fraud.  We’ve tested Google multiple times with clients using search terms that include “this is a fake click” or “this is a click fraud click” and sent it to Google which responded that there was no fraud they could detect. 

I have no advice to really help other than when you create Ad campaigns consider rules (another topic) that shut off your Ad if the CTR goes above a certain percent and make your keywords as tight as possible (less broad match terms).