How to Detect Google Ads Click Fraud and Prevent it


Google Ads are a great way to get your business in front of potential customers, but unfortunately, they can also be a target for click fraudsters. In 2021 TrafficGuard and Juniper said click fraud cost advertisers $34 billion and predicted that the cost will rise to $87 billion by 2022.

Click fraud might be the only reason you are not generating leads from your website. You are paying for leads that are not at all generated by Google ad clicks. Fortunately, we have a detailed guide on how to detect and prevent it. Read on.

What is google ads Click Fraud?

Click fraud is the manipulation of clicks on an advertisement. In simple terms, a fraudulent click is created with malicious intent to generate revenue for the wrong person.

How do Google ads Click Fraud work?

Click fraud perpetrators use several techniques to cheat advertisers who are advertising through PPC-based marketing channels such as Google Ads. Sometimes your competitors can also employ click fraud techniques against you.

The methods they employ are:

Using a bot to click on an advertisement.

Such clicks are not genuine and affect the overall performance of a website by hindering its SEO efforts.

Creating fake profiles to manually or automatically click on PPC ads from Google Ads.

In this case, advertisers see their ROI decline while the perpetrator gets paid for every click he generates.

Creating virus-infected computers or mobile devices which are programmed to click on advertisements.

Such clicks are generated with extreme pressure hence it is difficult for an advertiser to detect them.

How to detect Google ads Click Fraud?

Detecting click fraud is not easy. Google however offers some basic tips to detect unexpected changes in the advertiser’s account.

Here are some detection methods:

  1. Track the number of AdSense publishers in your Google ads account.

If you notice an abnormal increase or decrease in such figures, suspect click fraud and take action.

  1. An advertiser can compare data from Google analytics with their Google ads data to find any discrepancies that might arise due to click fraud.
  2. Check for the number of pixels from third-party verification services.

Google ads account for a website might not show impressions from some AdSense publishers. This is a red flag and you should take action immediately.

  1. Check the Google ads account for any sudden increase in paid clicks that do not have corresponding views on your website.
  2. Monitor the number of days Google ads impressions are valid.

If these numbers start changing often, there is more chance of click frauds taking place

  1. Monitor the number of daily ad clicks especially for high-paying keywords which should be close to equal or lower than impression counts.
  2. Monitor the engagement rate by viewing the number of page views per session along with the number of ad clicks.
  3. Monitor your website behavior to find out if there is any unexpected change in server requests or bandwidth usage which can be a result of click fraud.
  4. Keep a check on the average CPC bid amount and compare it to other advertisers’ average CPC bids for a particular keyword.

If the average CPC bid is much lower, it can be a sign of click fraud.

How to prevent Google ads Click Fraud

While Google has an incredible Click fraud system you can not rely on Google entirely to protect your PPC campaigns.

Some of the best practices you can use to avoid click fraud are:

Choose high-value sites only for your ads

Most often fraud perpetrators use low-quality websites to generate clicks and hence you should avoid such sites for your ads. Instead, use high-value sites that offer quality content and display ads in a way that does not involve click fraud.

Use IP address targeting to find out legitimate clicks

Identifying IP addresses is an effective method to track fraudulent clicks generated from bots and viruses. This method will be useful if you decide to blacklist any IP address associated with suspicious clicks.

Use third-party services to track any suspicious activity

You can ask your webmaster to install a tracking code on your website to record all suspicious activities like click fraud and take necessary actions including blacklisting such IP addresses if required. You should also use Google analytics as well as external tools to identify any unusual changes in your website’s behavior.

Keep a check on the number of daily ads clicks especially for high-paying keywords which should be close to equal or lower than impression counts.

Monitor the number of days Google ads impressions are valid. If these numbers start changing often, there is more chance of click fraud taking place.

Change your ad targeting to specific countries

Changing your ad target to specific countries can help you prevent click fraud. This is because mostly click frauds originate from the same geographical location and targeting a specific group of countries will be beneficial.

Use conversion tracking to track how many of your clicks result in conversions, and use that data to weed out suspicious clicks

Conversion tracking can help you identify fake click fraud more effectively; it will be easier to remove the fraudulent clicks from your campaign.

Monitor your PPC campaigns closely

Typically bots and viruses are programmed to generate fake clicks at timed intervals. This means you should check your campaign regularly for suspicious activity.

Run a remarketing campaign

Remarketing campaigns are the perfect way to get your ads in front of users who are genuinely interested in your products. 

Remarketing will be beneficial because your ads will only be shown to users who have previously bought, downloaded, or viewed your content. 

Wrap up

Click fraud is a serious threat to any PPC campaign. While no one can completely prevent click fraud, you can significantly reduce the chances of it taking place using some of the best practices mentioned above.

Author: ShreyaSharma

Shreya Sharma is a Google Analytics-certified Web Marketing Consultant at Shopchun. She’s written over 400 articles on digital marketing, covering topics like SEO, CRO, and Amazon. When she isn’t polishing her Time Magazine Person of the Year Award, she’s spending time with her flock of ducks.