5 Major Ad Fraud Types Impacting PPC Campaigns and How to Prevent Them

Ad fraud is a significant challenge for digital advertisers, especially those running PPC campaigns. A startling statistic reveals that 20% of clicks on PPC ads result from click fraud. To address this issue, advertisers need to be aware of the various types of ad fraud targeting PPC campaigns, detect them, and prevent them effectively.

Here are the five main types of ad fraud impacting PPC campaigns:

  1. Bad Bots
    Bots account for 40% of internet traffic, and bad bots are particularly harmful to advertisers. They perform click fraud by mimicking human workflows, generating a massive number of fraudulent clicks that quickly drain PPC budgets. Bad bots not only deplete budgets but also increase the cost of PPC campaigns, making them difficult to run profitably.
  2. Click Farms
    Click farms involve rooms full of people who are paid low wages to manually click on PPC ads, increasing clickthrough rates and draining budgets. Often based in countries with little regulation on ad fraud, click farms are challenging to combat.
  3. Data Center Traffic
    Fraudsters use data centers and hosting providers to run their fraudulent schemes, leveraging fast networks, anonymity, and elastic hardware. They use these resources to launch malware and automated software, generating large volumes of fake mobile and desktop traffic.
  4. Click Spamming
    Click spamming involves flooding ads with fraudulent clicks to capture PPC budgets. It occurs when fraudsters execute clicks for users who have not made them, often using mobile web pages or apps to perform fake clicks in the background or send clicks to invisible ads.
  5. Geomasking
    Geomasking is a technique used by fraudsters to hide the location of the clicks they generate. They spoof IP addresses to deceive advertisers into thinking clicks are more valuable than they are, leading to payouts for fraudulent clicks. Geomasking also obscures fraudsters’ locations to avoid detection through location-based patterns.

To detect and prevent click fraud, advertisers can look for signs such as:

  • Large spikes in clicks on PPC ads
  • Low conversion rates despite high click numbers
  • Traffic from unusual locations
  • Decreased page views despite high click numbers
  • High bounce rates despite high click numbers

Advertisers can use one of the following methods to prevent click fraud:

  1. Use Google Ads to block invalid activity from bad bots, click farms, and other forms of ad fraud. While Google’s invalid click detection filter can block IP addresses, some fraudulent activity may still slip through.
  2. Rely on PPC platforms to monitor campaigns for click fraud and blacklist certain IPs and fraudulent publisher campaigns. However, this method doesn’t guarantee absolute prevention of click fraud.

For a more robust and automated solution, advertisers should consider implementing a dedicated anti-fraud system to prevent click fraud and optimize their campaigns for maximum return on ad spend (ROAS).

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