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Worried about paying for invalid clicks on your pay-per-click ads? Just not sure what click fraud actually is? We have insights for you!
Understandably, lawyers may be hesitant to try pay-per-click (PPC) advertising due to the risk of paying for fake or fraudulent clicks. Even if you are already running successful Google Ads campaigns, you may wonder how many of your clicks are coming from legitimate prospective clients.
With a little bit of knowledge, a diligent strategy, and some planning, you can monitor your account and implement proactive measures designed to help keep you from wasting valuable advertising dollars!
If you are wondering what to look for or how to react to suspected click fraud, we’re here with answers to five common questions that can help you better understand click fraud and get the most from your budget. After all, knowledge is power!
1. What Is Click Fraud?
Click fraud is an umbrella term that refers to the practice of falsely inflating the clicks on a PPC ad. Motives for this practice may vary. In some circumstances, the false clicks are driven by competitors deliberately looking to inflate PPC advertising costs. In other instances, it is simply the result of an online trickster or bot that inexplicably looks to deplete advertising budgets. Sometimes, inflated clicks can even be the result of innocent mistakes, such as someone on your team “testing” your ads.
Within this larger category, there are several additional subgroups of potential bad actors of which lawyers should be aware:
- Click Farms: Teams of people who can be hired to manually click on ads, thereby falsely inflating the numbers.
- Click Bots: Software that is either purchased or programmed to automate and increase ad impression, click, and traffic activity. Sophisticated bots can be programmed to act like real users, making them a bit more difficult to spot.
- Clickjacking: Hiding “invisible” ads on a website or otherwise manipulating ad positions to create accidental clicks from legitimate users.
- Botnets: Network of hijacked computers generating large numbers of clicks that register as humans.
2. Does Click Fraud Negatively Impact My PPC Campaign Performance?
Yes and no. Of course, you do have the negative impact of wasted budget dollars. But to the extent that Google may penalize your ad for click fraud, the answer is generally no. Google is not going to penalize your ad for having lots of traffic or clicks. However, the consequences of click fraud go beyond simply incurring costs for extra clicks. Instead, the wasted click budget can also result in impacts beyond increasing your marketing bill.
With a set marketing budget, a percentage will be lost to click fraud without proactive measures. According to some studies, ad fraud and click fraud may waste up to 20% of PPC advertisers’ budgets this year alone. Not only could you face actual dollars and cents owed in such a circumstance, but the bigger implication is you may also lose opportunities to connect with more clients – unless you increase your budget as money runs out.
Additionally, when you adjust your ad strategy as a response to click fraud – for example, by running your ads at non-peak times, in other markets, or changing your copy – you may (unintentionally) be connecting with fewer quality clients than those you were reaching in your original campaign targets.
3. What Are Common Warning Signs of Click Fraud?
The good news is that click fraud can often be detected! If your PPC ads are receiving fraudulent clicks, it is likely something happening on a large scale for your campaign and similar campaigns.
When you begin to suspect your law firm is falling prey to click fraud vultures, the first common sign is an unusual spike in clicks to your ad but no corresponding increase in conversions to actual leads or clients.
If you notice a possible spike, start looking for a pattern. For instance, you should consider whether the clicks are tied to a particular keyword, geographic region, or IP address. This information can help you better refine your campaign for increased efficacy and decreased fraud in the future.
4. How Can I Eliminate or Reduce Instances of Click Fraud?
If you are already running Google Ads and expect you are drawing attention from fraudsters, or you are a lawyer considering Google Ads PPC and are hesitant to introduce potential losses into your budget, you are almost certainly wondering how you prevent, reduce, or eliminate fraudulent clicks. There are strategies to consider that may help you get ahead of potential bad actors in a space where you are trying to connect with clients.
For example, you can exclude certain offending IP addresses that are known for spam clicks from your Google Ads campaigns. You may also want to consider click fraud detection and prevention software.
In addition to the preventative measures you can implement, Google does have algorithms in place to attempt to detect click fraud and automatically credit your account for “invalid clicks”. They continuously work with various industry groups to monitor the situation and react accordingly.
In addition, if you suspect you have fake clicks that Google is not catching, you can ask Google to investigate the invalid traffic.
5. Is There a Permanent Solution to Address Click Fraud?
At present, there is no widely available solution to permanently address click fraud. Excluding nefarious IP addresses is a solid start to addressing the problem. However, it is not a failsafe solution, as determined spammers can change their location and/or IP address. They may also control numerous IP addresses that they hop between.
The best long-term monitoring solution available to combat click fraud right now is investing in strong software for click fraud detection and prevention or partnering with legal marketing experts that have the technology in place to monitor your campaigns. For example, Justia offers expert click fraud monitoring to Justia Amplify PPC management clients that can help avoid significant losses due to fake clicks.
Even if you have excluded potentially bad IP addresses and acquired top-of-the-line software for these purposes, it is still not a 100% error-proof situation. As such, you should be prepared for potential fraudulent clicks. However, when you have a well-optimized campaign and monitoring in place, you can typically expect the return on your investment in PPC to significantly outweigh the risks and losses associated with click fraud.
Final Thoughts: Why Do You Care?
Click fraud fears often act as a deterrent for many lawyers who are on tight marketing budgets. However, by demystifying some of these common questions, you can venture into the world of PPC advertising armed with knowledge and greater confidence on how to troubleshoot click fraud detection issues.Related Posts
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