PPC Advertising Fraud – Why It’s Not a Concern

ppc fraud, pay per click, click fraud,

PPC Fraud is one of the biggest concerns and one of the most asked about topics I tend to get from clients and prospects interested in setting up a PPC advertising campaign. For some people it represents a huge barrier to perusing PPC advertising models as a channel to market and promote their products and services. Most of these peoples thinking about PPC fraud is based on a 3-4 years old misconception about the risk of losing tons of money.

They have often heard in the past, horror stories about companies loosing lots of money from their online advertising campaigns due to their competitors engaging in click fraud warfare. For these reasons they remain highly sceptical about the value and ROI possibilities that PPC platforms such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, Microsoft adCentre can present.

As a search engine marketer I think there is onus on our industry professionals to help ease these people’s fears and dispel these myths.


So What is Pay- Per-Click Fraud?

Click fraud is an internet crime carried out by humans or robots whereby the objective is to perpetrate a fraudulent clicks on another advisers ad. This action is performed by clicking on an ad and subsequently generating a charge for the advertiser without any interest or intention to investigate further the target of the ad’s link.

The most general and widespread type of click fraud occurs when a competitor of an advertiser in the same market sets out to harm the competition by attempting to drain their advertising budget. They used to do this by repeatedly clicking on the advertisers ads generating click costs that usually went undetected by the advertising networks (Google, Bing, Yahoo).

A few years ago PPC fraud used to be a hugely controversial topic and for many business owners represented a significant barrier to entry when it came to online advertising. Back then click fraud was much more widespread and prevalent activity than it is today.

So What Has Changed?

Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing have made huge strides in recent years in being able to detect and combat click fraud. The role they play in continuously modernising and updating their anti-fraud technology has had a huge impact in attracting new advertisers to their platforms.

Each of the big search advertising networks fully refund the costs associated with fraudulent clicks. They have also become much more transparent in dealing with the issue.  Google advertising platforms, Adwords and Adsense will tell you the number of fraudulent clicks that occur in your account providing for a much more transparent and accurate billing frame work.

In 2011 Google earned 32.2 billion that came directly from their advertising revenue. That accounted for 97% of their total revenue.  It is only logical that the search engines like Google want to protect their investment. They can only do this by continually investing in technology and mechanisms designed to eradicate click fraud.

These days click fraud should only be viewed as a very marginal concern when it comes to PPC advertising.  It does not represent a determining factor in whether your pay per click campaign is a success or not.

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