Pay per click (PPC) is an advertising technique which is widely used by internet marketers all over the world. Google Adwords, Yahoo!Search Marketing, MSN etc. are the major PPC networks, which offer targeted traffic to your site at a reasonable cost. The advantage of PPC marketing is that you pay only when there is a click on your ad and a visitor visits your site. However, click fraud is one of the greatest threats which the PPC advertiser has to tackle. Click fraud is generally committed by webmasters who fraudulently click on your ads to boost up their revenue or by your competitors who click on your ads to increase the cost per click. Though different measures are taken by the service providers to minimize click fraud, the following steps will help you to protect yourself from click fraud to a great extent:
- When you start a campaign, it must be monitored and reviewed regularly. PPC networks like Google and Yahoo provide daily reports which can help you to see what is working and what is not. If there is any sudden increase in daily costs, look at the keywords or campaigns that caused them. If necessary, stop the campaign for some time. Study the server logs and if there are multiple clicks originating from the same IP, report the matter to your service provider immediately.
- Never use a network that allows incentive sites. Incentive sites offer some incentive to people to click on the ads. Though such sites are not fraudulent, the clicks which you get are totally non targeted and rubbish.
- You can limit your advertisements to only those countries where you sell your products or services. Some countries have a higher incidence of click fraud than others ( e.g. some east European, African and Asian countries). If possible, avoid such countries from showing your ads.
- Make sure that the PPC network you are using has a frequency cap. A frequency cap is a filter which prevents duplicate clicks originating from the same IP, from being deducted from your balance.
- Do not deposit all your money with the PPC company at the same time. Make a daily advertising budget and only spend which you can afford to lose. Monitor the results and increase your spending only when you are satisfied with the results.
- There are a number of third party web analytical tools which can be used to detect click fraud. These tools will help you to identify which campaign and keywords are giving business and which ones are bringing false clicks, so that you can take necessary measures.