While it might sound like something out of a movie, there’s an ominous side to Google Ads—one where your budget can be intentionally or inadvertently burnt out by invalid clicks.
It’s called “click fraud” and, if you’re not seeing results from your coworking space’s Google Ads campaigns, it might be the reason.
While this might sound farfetched, it’s a real problem: research has found that 11% of search ad clicks are fraudulent or invalid.
In this article, we’ll explain what click fraud is, how to identify it and prevent it, and what to do if it happens to you.
What Exactly is Click Fraud?
Click fraud—also known as invalid clicks—refers to clicks on advertisements on the Google Ads Search Network which are generated artificially or by another means that violates Google’s policies.
Essentially, these clicks are not generated by genuine users who are interested in signing up for your coworking space or enlisting one of your services. And, as a result, they’re simply eating your Google Ads budget with no chance whatsoever of creating an ROI.
While some invalid clicks are simply mistakes from users who didn’t intend to click on your ad or were misled by your ad’s placement or design, there are also a number of other more malicious and intentional forms of click fraud.
- Click bots or automated scripts that repeatedly click on ads, either to drain the advertiser’s budget or to artificially inflate click-through rates
- Click farms, which are groups of people paid to click on ads and artificially generate traffic, usually for malicious purposes or monetary gains
- Competitors who click on ads with the purposeful intention to exhaust your budget or to drive up costs
Invalid clicks can waste your advertising spend and reduce your Google Ads campaign’s ROI.
And while Google Ads has built-in click fraud protection that automatically filters out invalid clicks, you can also take proactive steps to prevent invalid clicks by:
- Using third-party tools
- Monitoring your campaigns
- Analyzing your data
Making sure you’re monitoring your own campaign helps to further ensure your clicks are valid and your ad dollars are being spent properly.
6 Free Ways to Proactively Protect Your Google Ads Clicks from Fraud
Google does a lot to protect your clicks, but the best way to safeguard your campaigns is to understand your ad traffic and website visitors.
Here are six things to keep an eye on.
1. Use IP Exclusions
You can exclude specific IP addresses or IP ranges from seeing your ads. This is particularly useful if you’ve identified a particular source of invalid clicks.
This can be useful to apply on your coworking space’s IP, especially if there are a lot of member tools that are on your website such as the ability to Book a Meeting Room.
You can avoid unnecessary click costs by preventing ads from being displayed to internal members visiting off your internet network.
2. Use Google Ads Audiences
Targeting specific audiences using Google Ads can help reduce the likelihood of invalid clicks.
By targeting people who are more likely to be interested in your product or service, you can reduce the risk of clicks from automated bots or people who have no genuine interest in your business.
3. Check for Spikes in Click-Through Rates
Regularly monitor your Google Ads account and analyze your data to identify any patterns or irregularities, including sudden spikes in click-through rates. This could be a red flag.
4. Watch for Irregularities in Click Locations and Times
When you’re monitoring your data, it’s wise to look for clicks from specific locations or times of day that don’t align with your target audience.
If you see clicks coming at irregular hours or outside of your demographic’s time zone, this is a strong sign of click fraud.
5. Monitor Your Bounce Rate
Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who visit your site from a Google Ad and then navigate away after viewing only one page.
If your bounce rate is high, it may suggest that the clicks are not from genuine users, but rather from automated bots or click farms.
6. Set Up Proper Conversion Tracking
By setting up conversion tracking, you can measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and identify any anomalies in the data—the kind that may suggest invalid clicks.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with your Google Ads data and understand where to find these important metrics. By monitoring them regularly, you can proactively identify click fraud and stop it before it eats your entire budget.
4 Paid SAAS Options for Protecting Your Campaigns from Click Fraud
You can also purchase software that will help identify and prevent click fraud on your Google Ads campaigns.
These services use various techniques, such as machine learning, algorithms, and human verification, to identify and block invalid clicks.
They’re offered on a subscription-based model, with monthly fees that vary based on the features and level of protection offered.
Here are four good options to consider:
ClickCease automatically blocks invalid traffic from clicking on your Google ads and seeing your Facebook Ads in real-time, making sure no damage is done to your ad budget.
Price: $55 per month
Automatically remove bots and fake ad engagements across all your paid marketing channels including Google, Meta, TikTok, LinkedIn, and more.
Price: $55 per month
ClickGUARD provides users with comprehensive visual maps that help detect suspicious click patterns and behaviors for all IPs and devices, including an overview of targeted site URLs such as specific landing pages.
Price: $74 per month
AdTector is a click fraud prevention software designed to help businesses detect anomalies and block malicious IPs based on indicators such as blacklisted IPs, device IDs, user agents, and more using a machine learning-enabled robot. The platform monitors ad clicks for businesses and website visitors and sends invalid click claims to Google with data reports. AdTector’s dashboard allows organizations to track fraudulent fraudulent activities such as IP, user agent, and other sources.
Price: $97 per month
What To Do If You Discover Click Fraud on Your Google Ads Campaign
We’ve covered a lot about how to identify click fraud, but the big question we know you’re wondering is this:
What exactly do you do if you discover click fraud on your Google Ads campaign and how do you recoup the money you lost?
The first step is to report your click fraud using Google Ads’ refund form. Make sure you complete it in detail and attach all of the data you have pertaining to suspicious clicks. And, most importantly, make sure your email address is correct because this is how Google representatives will contact you to help resolve your case.
Google Ads click fraud is a realistic issue that can be costly when it comes to your coworking space ad campaigns.
But, by reinforcing Google’s existing safeguards by proactively monitoring your campaigns for suspicious clicks, you can help ensure nothing slips through the cracks and that your campaign is a profit-generating success.
Google Ads is incredibly powerful when it comes to filling your coworking space with members. But it’s not always intuitive. And that can end up costing you money and leads in the long run if you don’t know what to look for.
If you’re looking for more insights to help bring in new members with Google Ads, speaking with a specialist can be incredibly helpful. And that’s where Spacefully can help.
Learn how we can supercharge your lead generation, book a free 15-minute intro call today.