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How do I find out an IP address

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi guys, I hope you can help.

 

I am becoming more and more suspicious that somebody (most likely a competitor) is clicking my ads on a regular basis.

 

I can see that you are able to block an IP address but how do you find out the IP address?

 

Thanks for your time.

 

Marc

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: How do I find out an IP address

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Marc and welcome to the forum.

 

First of all, can you share with us what makes you suspicious?  What evidence do you have of this?  Although malicious clicking certainly occurs, it's far less common than reports on the Internet would have you believe.  There are several perfectly valid reasons for activity that looks suspicious being completely normal, so it's important to make sure you're not worrying over nothing.

 

Secondly, assuming there is something malicious going on, unless the competitor is using a static IP address (i.e. their address never changes), which is becoming increasingly rare, even for larger companies, your blocking will be temporary at best and potentially blocking valid customers at worst (when they use that IP address from the pool).

 

Thirdly, Google has very advanced techniques for detecting "invalid" clicks so I'd be very surprised if any malicious activity wasn't being detected and refunded.  Are you seeing any refunds for invalid click activity?

 

If you do want to try and block an IP, the information isn't available in Adwords itself, but is through Analytics, as long as you're able to narrow the search/filter sufficiently to be positive.

 

Let us know your reasoning for suspecting invalid activity and we may be able to help more.

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: How do I find out an IP address

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Jon,

 Can you give more information on "Invalid clicks" (malicious clicking) as I have the concerns as Marc. I would have thought once google detects an IP Address has clicked on an ad, the advertiser will no longer be charged from that IP Address even though they keep clicking.

 

Thank you,

 Dave

Re: How do I find out an IP address

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Jon,

 

Thanks for getting in touch.

 

Firstly we operate on a national basis so our ad campaigns are broken down into regions and then ads for places in those regions. One area in particular (Sheffield) is getting a lot more clicks than the rest and a much lesser conversion rate. For example yesterday, this particular area had just 2% of the impressions for the entire country but 21% of the clicks.Today so far it has 2.5% of the impressions and 19% of the clicks. This is very irregugular and I'm sure you can see my point.

 

I haven't noticed any refunds but maybe I'm not looking in the right place. Can you advise on this?

 

Thanks again.

 

Marc

Re: How do I find out an IP address

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

Hi Marc, yep, that's a good reason to be concerned, although it would depend on other factors such as how many impressions and clicks we're actually talking about - as I'm sure you appreciate, figures in percentages mean different things in terms of data relevance when compared to 100 impressions or 10,000.

 

Google calls refunds for invalid clicks "Billing Adjustments" and there's information all about them (and other types of adjustment) here:

 

Billing Adjustments

 

I really would have thought that Google's automated processes would have caught such click activity.  What you're describing is pretty much repeated verbatim as an example of an invalid click in this file:

 

About Invalid Clicks

 

(you should look at the further links at the bottom of that page as well).

 

Could there be any other reason for Sheffield having a high click rate?  What sort of Keywords are you using?  Are you using any simple Broad terms? Can you see any trend in Analytics for when it started or how it's grown/shrunk, etc?    Ironically, your situation does, in a way, emphasise my original point about how rare such activity is - if you advertise nationally, why are you only seeing this behaviour in Sheffield?

 

@Dave, please read my initial comments to Marc, and look through the links I've provided here.  If you have further questions, please start your own thread on the subject and let's keep this one focused on Marc's issue for now. 

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: How do I find out an IP address

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Jon,

 

Thanks for your message.

 

With regards to keywords we are running consistent keywords through 52 ads at the moment. We are a removal compare website and terms such as 'removals sheffield'. Within the Sheffield area 'removals sheffield' and 'sheffield removals' seem to be the ones people are picking on. 'removals sheffield' getting a CTR of 7.41% on Saturday compared to an overall campaign CTR of 1.28% for the day. This has been noticable on adwords and analytics for some time now. If I pause Sheffield for a day then we notice irregular figures on other areas neighbouring it.

 

The entire campaign on Saturday had 2577 impressions. Sheffield had 92 impressions. The entire campaign had 33 clicks and Sheffied being just one of 52 ads had 6 clicks.

 

I've looked into billing adjustmnts and we received £2.12 refund for invalid activity on 2nd December. This is far from what I'd expect.

 

Thanks

 

Marc

Re: How do I find out an IP address

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

OK Marc, that's great info, thanks.  Just one thing missing - what match types are you using for your Keywords - this could be important.

 

I agree it looks a little strange but I'm not sure it's that strange.  Even a CTR of 7.41% isn't especially high so in terms of raw Clicks/Impressions ratio there's nothing that screams "invalid" there.  I'd say a CTR of 1.28% is decidedly on the low side (I'm assuming this is Search Network only with these figures?).

 

That when you pause Sheffield other areas pick up these "irregular" figures isn't that surprising either.  Unless you have an unlimited budget it's possible this is merely a reflection of the extra available budget to these other areas, allowing more clicks.

 

£2.12 doesn't sound very much and to me indicates that Google pretty much doesn't think much invalid activity is going on. Ironically, this low figure is almost more proof that invalid activity is low than if there had been no adjustments at all - it's proof Google's detection systems are working for your account but that the incidence of invalid activity is low.

 

What Bidding Option are you using for the Campaign(s)?  Is it perhaps "maximise clicks"?

 

I'm wondering if this is actually normal behaviour, given the settings/history of the account.  From the sound of things you're running all your locations under a single Campaign so if you've set this Campaign to optimise for clicks, or possibly conversions and it just so happens that Sheffield gets more clicks anyway, the automation will emphasise that metric.  In other words, Adwords has been told to get as many clicks as possible and the easiest way to do that appears to be focusing on Sheffield; this is partly borne out by the "move" of these irregular clicks into other areas when you pause Sheffield.

 

Let us know what your Bidding Option is, and what match types you're using and maybe we'll be able to find an answer.  I do have a theory but I'll need this to be more certain.

 

Jon

 

 

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: How do I find out an IP address

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Cheers Jon.

At the moment we're focussing on clicks as there is not enough conversion data to be able to select 'focus on conversions'. As soon as we can we will.

 

With match types we are now using 'do not include close variants'.

 

With regards to how we've set out our campaigns we have 9 of them which are regions. For example London, north east, South West, Scotland etc. Then within those campaigns are ads for areas with those larger areas. So for example in the North east we have 5 ads currently running. They are sheffield, hull, doncaster harrogate, huddersfield and lincoln. As I mentioned before the keywords are pretty even throughout but obviously area names are added in where neccesary ie 'removals sheffield'.

 

We are currently running all campaigns so we target 'People in my targeted location'.

 

I hope this all helps and I really appreciate your time here.

 

Cheers

 

Marc

 

To explain

Re: How do I find out an IP address

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 9
Top Contributor

Sorry Marc, I didn't make myself clear.  When I'm talking about "match types", I mean the Keywords themselves; are they broad matches e.g. written just as removals sheffield, phrase matches, e.g. "removals sheffield", exact matches - [removals sheffield] or modified broad, +removals +sheffield?

 

I'm gonna guess they're broad matches.  Am I right?

 

Keyword Matching Options

 

Just to clarify further, you have 9 Campaigns, and in the North East you have 5 Ads; is that one per Ad Group or are all 5 and all Keywords in one Group?

 

Sorry, one more question...  What Search Terms are you seeing against your Sheffield Keywords?  Go to your Account, then navigate the Keywords tab for the Sheffield Ad Group (if you have one).  Then click on "Keyword Details" (button just below the graph), then either "Selected" or "All", depending on if you've selected any.  What do you see in this list?  Does anything jump out at you as being "odd" or particularly not relevant to your business, but relevant to Sheffield? (Make sure you pick a decent time period to see a lot of click data).

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: How do I find out an IP address

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi John,

 

Apologies for the delay.

 

We weren't actually aware of the match type. We just thought selecting exact match only in the campaign settings was enough but obviously not. They are currently selected as broad but we have noticed a huge amount of rediculous matches which we have now made negative keywords.

 

"Just to clarify further, you have 9 Campaigns, and in the North East you have 5 Ads; is that one per Ad Group or are all 5 and all Keywords in one Group?" This is correct and they are 5 seperate ad groups within.

 

When we looked at keyword details we found quite a lot of things that stood out. This was consistent all over the UK and not any more excessive in Sheffield. As mentioned we have now made these all nagative keywords.

 

Should we swith to swith the match type to 'exact match' would you say?

 

I still have sheffield paused as I am still convinced that someone is clicking us for fun.

 

Cheers

 

Marc