The stats are in: industry groups are now claiming that one-in-five clicks on Pay-Per-Click campaigns are fraudulent. In response to this growing problem, some advertisers are now moving towards including the cost of fraud in their budgets upfront. With the click fraud dilemma growing at such a rapid pace, firms with large numbers of pay-per-click ads based upon even larger numbers of search terms may now want to consider outsourcing click fraud detection to a firm that can automate the process for them.
In a previous article, I discussed the problem of click fraud on Google’s Adwords, and their slow and lackadaisical attitude in responding to the needs of their advertising customers. Now it’s time to take a look at some of the offerings from firms that claim they can help you detect fraud, stop it in its tracks, and/or prevent it.
Depending on the number of ads you are running, it may be possible for you to detect fraud and report it on your own. Of the manual methods of determining a fraud problem, the most reliable is taking note of an uncommon spike in clicks with no similar increase in conversions. If your ads and landing pages have not changed in the interim, then it is very likely you are a victim of click fraud.
Increasingly, however, the manual methods will not be enough. If you are like most advertisers, the sheer quantity of ads you are running will demand an automated solution. Otherwise, you may not realize that you are a victim until it’s too late.
What follows is a brief analysis of a few of the services out there that can help you keep your eye on the fraud problem. All of the firms reviewed use some sort of reporting technology that examines clicks in real-time and determines whether there is the potential for clicks to be fraud. Some of the firms offer to report the fraud for you and to maximize your refunds from the search engines, while others just offer reporting and alerts. (I, frankly, would like to see an integration of these services with PPC management tools and advertising agencies, to put the management of everything in one place.)