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How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

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Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

We recently noticed that our funds were depleting ridiculously fast. We started tracking IPs and noticing weird stuff. One IP clicked the same product 5 times in 4 minutes. Another IP clicked 5 different adverts for 5 different products in the same category in 19 hours.

That is odd right? It's not just my imagination. The company I work for sells repair parts for certain stuff. Why would they be searching for multiple products from different categories and clicking the ads?

Is this click fraud? I've added the IPs to the "IP Exclusions List". Was this the right thing to do?

Thanks,

Ash

1 Expert replyverified_user

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star

Hi there,

 

I have looked for click fraud in many accounts over the years, and I would say this is definitely click fraud if it is from the same IP address every day, or you see the same pattern of searches every day from different IP addresses.

 

But just in one day, while suspicious it isn't necessary click fraud. You could potentially be blocking someone who wants to buy lots from you.

 

Look for patterns beyond one day - most fraudsters have a routine.

 

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks Rob, great reply.

What about if the fraudsters have a dynamic IP and are using the same device? How would I block those? We've had issues with competitors trying to hurt our business previously so we need to get on top of this as quickly as possible. So would you say an IP that clicks the same AD or Multiple ADs within a small time period is click fraud?

 

One IP has clicked 5 times in two days on two different ads.

 

Thanks,

 

Ash

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Bumpity bump.

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Rising Star
# 5
Rising Star

You need to look at each case individually, look at the search terms, and if there is no way it could be natural, then block them.

 

If it could be a real person genuinely looking into your product, then be cautious. Most searchers have no concept that they are costing you when they click on an ad, and will click on ads if it is quicker for them.

 

There are ways of dynamically changing IP addresses that I won't share here. In that case, you can try pausing the keywords they use for a while, or excluding their geographical area. In most cases, if they stop seeing your ads for a while, they'll go away.

 

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 6
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

Look into a software called Click Cease. It automatically identifies clicks from identical IP address so you can block those IPs from seeing your ads. It also easily integrates with your AdWords account. 

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Yeah, I'm trying to see a pattern as suggested or look for valid reasons to block IPs. I'm generally blocking stuff that looks suspicious like, 1 IP clicking 5 different ads in 20 minutes. To me that's not a real potential customer. We sell parts for repairs, the customers we get generally need maybe one part to make their system run again. So it's weird that they're searching maybe 5 different part numbers and clicking the ads.

 

The issue with pausing those keywords and hoping they go away when we re-enable them at a later date, is that I'm pretty sure this won't work. The boss tells me that he disabled his original campaigns due to him losing thousands with only a few conversions. I checked back to that date and saw that a large amount of them were invalid clicks.

The new campaigns he's running were setup by a reputable SEO company before I got here and they were fine for maybe a week before this click fraud started happening again.

As for excluding the geographical area, that sounds like a fairly decent fix but it will lose us a fair amount of potential customers as this is happening from multiple areas in multiple states. Not just one area.

 

I was sat up thinking about this last night, I've come to the conclusion that there really is no actual 100% fix. The only solution is to block those that appear static, I can't block those that are dynamic because their IP constantly changes so I'll have to apply for credit refunds. The issue being with that is that it'll probably take Google a long time to look into fraud, by the time we're credited for the refund, we've probably lost more and have to start that process again.

 

I mean, some of our campaigns literally have a 42% invalid click rate. To me that is absolutely insanity. How can that be allowed to happen?

The sad thing I've noticed is that this is also happening on Bing search but it's not as much, a lot less than on Google.

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Currently using ClickCease basic, it shows the IPs, yes.
But it also tells you if they're using the same device with a constant changing IP (Which basically means it's impossible to block them and they'll continue to bypass whatever you've done).

For instance, I can see that one person has clicked 1 ad, 6 times in under 15 minutes. They've used 6 different IP addresses from the same mobile Apple device. Therefore there is no fix to stop that person doing so. You can't block IPs because their IP changes and will never be the same again.

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Rising Star
# 9
Rising Star

That's a serious problem. I have worked on thousands of AdWords accounts and have only encountered this on rare occasions.

 

My guess is that you are in an industry that attracts the "get rich quick online" mindset.

 

Although you can't prove anything, you should be able to tell who the competitor is, as their ads should be appearing in the same results your ads that are receiving the clicks.

 

As you have pointed out, you can document these invalid clicks, and if you present the evidence to Google it would be reasonable to expect a refund.

 

 

 

How Do You Know If You're Being Click Frauded?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I made a data sheet with all the IPs, device IDs and ads they're click. Sent it in to Google and they said it'll be 4-5 days. Hopefully they can help resolve this issue. It's likely going to get worse before it gets better. It's sad this is happening as we used to be the number one go-to and it's dropped off over the past few years.