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How to protect your Google Ads campaigns from being clicked by competitors

[ BLOG ]

Table of contents of the article

What is ad linking, including on Google Ads?

Does the linking spend your budget allocated for advertising on Google? Do you lose customers due to fake clicks? There are many opportunities for earning money on the contextual advertising service Google Ads (formerly AdWords).And where you can earn money, there are always scammers. The bottom line is that today gluing has become a serious problem more than ever.

No one can feel safe regardless of the scale of the business or the advertising budget allocated for promotion in Google Ads. The fight against cross-linking is very important when conducting profitable pay-per-click advertising campaigns (PPC ads) and to get really good results. In this article, we will briefly talk about what is gluing and how it can be prevented.

What is it?

Linking is a "black" technique, which consists in performing clicks on ads with pay-per-click. The purpose of the click—through is to deceive advertisers by making them pay for these fraudulent clicks. This illegal technique is found in several advertising networks at once. However, today we will look at the most popular one — Google Ads.
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The main sources of fraudulent clicks

Moderate to insignificant volume of fraudulent clicks

Most fraudulent clicks on Google Ads are made by competitors.

Advertisers are trying to rob their competitors by helping to increase their expenses and ensure that they rest against their limits on advertising expenses in the morning. Let's say you are running an advertising campaign in Google Ads with a daily budget. As soon as your budget is exhausted, the display of your ad will stop to prevent further clicks on it. By clicking on your ads, competitors can empty your advertising budget and turn off the display of your ads for the whole day. But this is not the meanest thing.

If your competitor was in the second position in the search results, and could not afford to pay extra and take the first position, displacing you from it, then he could empty your budget by repeatedly clicking on your advertisement.

As a result, the advertiser in the second position will fraudulently enter the first one and get all the additional clicks and traffic for free!
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Significant volume of fraudulent clicks

The number of attackers includes not only competitors.

There are also communities of qualified scammers who target expensive keywords associated with large companies. These attackers use automated computer programs and bots to provide millions of fraudulent clicks and views daily. While some bots are designed to collect contact information, others are designed to click on advertisements hundreds or thousands of times and thus empty advertisers' budgets.

In addition to bots and web data collectors, click farms are another source of fraudulent clicks that should be taken into account. Click farms are designed to repeatedly click on unspecified links, and are most often used by companies to create visible, "inflated" activity. Finally, we have come to the most interesting thing ... Site owners personally click on advertisements that they themselves place in order to earn money from their advertiser clients.

Regardless of who exactly is engaged in linking, the result is the same: a lot of wasted money on online advertising. According to Juniper Research, companies lose $51 million every day due to the gluing.

In 2021 alone, approximately one in five clicks on advertisements was fraudulent, and this figure increases every month. Statistics show that cross-linking continues to be the main problem of marketers. More than 50% of online advertising is "seen" by non-people, which leads to the fact that advertising publishers lose a significant part of their earnings. In 2019, advertisers around the world lost more than $23 billion due to cross-linking, and it is predicted that in 2023, advertising fraud will cost the industry $32 billion.

But the problem of gluing is not only wasted money on advertising. Cross-linking also distorts the analytical data that advertisers and marketers rely on when making decisions related to Internet marketing. Let's say you have an advertising campaign in Google Ads with a high conversion rate and a profitable keyword. If this keyword is "hit" by a click and you don't find out about it, then you may decide to get rid of this keyword.

After all, all your advertising data shows that the CTR is extremely high, but the conversion rate is very low. Since you pay for every click, the cost of advertising will eventually exceed the profit. The cross-linking distorted the real state of affairs, forcing you to make a decision that could affect your entire return on marketing investments, or, in other words, the marketing ROI.
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Identifying Unwanted Clicks on Your Google Adsense Ads

Wondering if your ads are getting undesired clicks? Fortunately, with some dedication and the right tools, you can pinpoint whether your ads are genuinely engaged with or not.

DIY Monitoring

To independently track suspicious click activity, utilize your site's internal reporting. Essential data you'd need includes:

- IP Address: Every user's digital "footprint" on the web. Think of it like an online postal address. This address is recorded and can be traced by site administrators whenever a user visits.

- Click Timestamp: The specific time a user lands on your site from an ad click.

- Action Timestamp: When a user takes a particular action on your site.

- User-Agent Data: This gives insights into the device a visitor used, such as device model, browser type, and other software details.

By comparing click timestamps with action timestamps, you can isolate IP addresses that frequently click on your Google ads but don’t engage with your site. Notice an IP with many click timestamps but zero action ones? That’s a potential red flag. The User-Agent data can further help determine if repeated clicks come from a single device or user. Upon spotting a dubious IP, you might wonder, what’s next?

A quick IP check, on platforms like “What’s My IP,” can reveal its owner. If you notice an unusually high traffic volume from one source, check if this IP is a proxy server. Consistent search queries might indicate that these are sham clicks.

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Minimizing False Clicks on Google Ads

Feel you can't solely rely on Google to sift out deceitful clicks? While you can't eradicate the risk fully, there are proactive measures to help you control false click incidents on Google Adsense:

1. Block dubious IP addresses.
2. Be wary of competitors.
3. Refine your ad targeting.
4. Only target reputable websites.
5. Monitor invalid clicks.
6. Strategize your marketing initiatives.
7. Implement conversion tracking to ensure accurate metrics comparison.
8. Invest in ad fraud detection tools.

Navigating the digital advertising landscape requires vigilance and a proactive approach. As ad fraud continues to evolve, advertisers must arm themselves with the tools and strategies to identify and counteract unwanted clicks. By understanding the intricacies of IP addresses, timestamps, and user-agent data, one can discern genuine engagement from deceitful interactions. Implementing a blend of manual monitoring and automated tools not only ensures that advertising budgets are spent wisely but also upholds the integrity of online interactions. In the ever-evolving world of Google Adsense, knowledge is power, and proactive defense is the key to genuine growth and engagement.

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Discover the ins and outs of detecting and preventing fraudulent clicks in Google Ads. Equip yourself with the knowledge and tools necessary to safeguard your advertising campaigns from unwanted engagements and ensure genuine growth.

FAQs: "How to protect your Google Ads ads from being clicked by competitors"

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