How COVID-19 Has Increased The Risk Of Click Fraud & What To Do About It?
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world in many ways, affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. It has also had a significant impact on the online advertising industry, especially on the issue of click fraud. Click fraud is the practice of generating fake or invalid clicks on online ads, either manually or through automated means, such as bots, malware, or click farms. The purpose of click fraud is to inflate the number of clicks and impressions on an ad, thereby increasing the cost for the advertiser or the revenue for the publisher.
Click fraud is a serious problem for online advertisers, as it wastes their ad budget, reduces their return on investment (ROI), and damages their reputation. According to a report by PPC Protect, 11% of search ad clicks, 36% of display ad clicks, and 17% of CTV impressions are fraudulent or invalid. The report also estimates that click fraud will cost advertisers $50 billion by 2025.
How has COVID-19 affected click fraud?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a favorable environment for click fraudsters to exploit. Here are some of the factors that have contributed to the rise of click fraud during the pandemic:
Increased online activity: As people stayed at home due to lockdowns and social distancing measures, they spent more time online, browsing websites, watching videos, and using social media. This increased the demand and supply of online ads, as well as the opportunities for click fraudsters to target them.
Reduced human oversight: As businesses shifted to remote work or reduced their staff due to the pandemic, they had fewer human resources to monitor and manage their online ad campaigns. This made it easier for click fraudsters to evade detection and prevention measures.
Exploitation of fear and uncertainty: The pandemic also created a sense of fear and uncertainty among people, making them more vulnerable to scams and phishing attacks. Click fraudsters took advantage of this by creating fake websites, emails, and ads that claimed to offer COVID-19-related products, services, or information, but instead redirected users to malicious sites or collected their personal data.
Competition among advertisers: The pandemic also increased the competition among advertisers, as some industries saw a surge in demand (such as e-commerce, health care, and education), while others saw a decline (such as travel, hospitality, and entertainment). This made some advertisers more aggressive in bidding for keywords and placements, while others were more desperate to maintain their market share. This also made some advertisers more likely to engage in unethical practices, such as clicking on their competitors’ ads to deplete their budget or drive up their costs.
What can businesses do to protect themselves from click fraud?
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that click fraud is not only a persistent but also an evolving threat that requires constant vigilance and action from businesses. Here are some of the steps that businesses can take to protect themselves from click fraud:
Use reputable click fraud protection software: One of the most effective ways to combat click fraud is to use reliable and robust click fraud protection software that can detect and block fraudulent clicks in real-time. A good click fraud protection software should have features such as IP blocking, device fingerprinting, machine learning, and behavioral analysis. One such software is ClicksBuster, which offers comprehensive and customizable click fraud protection solutions for Google Ads campaigns.
Monitor your ad performance and analytics: Monitor your ad performance, such as click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate (CVR), cost per acquisition (CPA), bounce rate, and average session duration, regularly to prevent click fraud. These metrics can help you identify any anomalies or discrepancies in your ad traffic that may indicate click fraud. You can also use tools such as Google Analytics or Google Ads Performance Planner to track and optimize your ad performance.
Report any suspicious activity: If you suspect that you are a victim of click fraud, you should report it to the relevant authorities or platforms as soon as possible. For example, if you are using Google Ads, you can report invalid clicks through your account or contact Google support. You can also report any fraudulent websites or emails to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline or submit the NCDF Web Complaint Form.
Educate yourself and your team: Finally, you should educate yourself and your team about the latest trends and best practices in online advertising and click fraud prevention. You can follow reputable sources such as Search Engine Journal, AARP, Office of Inspector General, etc., which provide valuable information and tips on how to avoid and combat click fraud.
Click fraud is a serious challenge for online advertisers that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, by using reputable click fraud protection software like ClicksBuster, monitoring your ad performance and analytics, reporting any suspicious activity, and educating yourself and your team, you can protect your ad budget, improve your ROI, and grow your business.
The Clicks Buster app allows you to eliminate click fraud, easily access all of your Google AdWords data, and make the best data-driven decisions. Simply install it on your smartphone, and you can quickly log in to all of your Ad fraud prevention service data.