Saturday, April 1, 2023

Click Fraud: What It is, Techniques and 3 Ways to Avoid It


What is click fraud or click fraudulent? What are the motivations for taking these actions? In this article, I talk about click fraud, its best-known techniques, and ways to detect it.

Today many of the ads we see on the Internet (Google and social networks) are billed based on the clicks they receive. Advertising networks like Google Ads or Bing Ads promote a business model whereby advertisers pay for ads on their search engines when a potential customer clicks on the ad.

But there are cases, where advertisers do not receive the expected results despite good click-through rates. And one of the reasons for not achieving those results is click fraud.

If you do not know what I am talking about and you are thinking of investing in advertising or you have Adsense ads on your website, keep reading the post because this topic may interest you.

What is click fraud or click fraudulent

Click fraud consists of systematically managing the number of clicks on ads based on cost per click (CPC).

In other words, they try to deceive the system by generating false clicks on advertising formats to obtain direct or indirect benefits.

To avoid this type of “fraud”, advertising platforms usually have mechanisms to prevent fraudulent clicks to provide the best possible services to their customers (advertisers).

Reasons for Click Fraud

The truth is that this practice is very unethical, but there are reasons why companies and people carry out this type of action, such as:

  • Advertisers trying to sabotage competition by increasing the cost of clicks on their ads and reducing the number of legitimate clicks. For example, your competition may dedicate themselves to clicking on your ads, to exhaust your advertising budget and thus make you run out of budget, that is, your ads stop running. If they do this, they stop having you as competition for their ads.
  • Ad publishers who click on ads displayed on their own websites to generate more revenue.

Is this allowed?

Well, like everything on the Internet or almost everything, it shouldn’t, but there are many “fraudulent” strategies of this type that are real and that “work” while they are not detected, of course.

That is why I thought it would be interesting to explain this topic because many times these things happen to us and we do not know.

Click fraud techniques or ways to make fraudulent clicks

This type of practice is carried out manually or automatically.

The most common techniques are:

  • Manual clicks – where ad publishers generate fake clicks by manually clicking on ads on your website. This technique tends to have low results since many clicks are needed to have effective results and doing manually the time that is lost is immense.
  • Click-generating robots: these are software and programs that are responsible for generating automatic clicks on the ads on your own website and those of your competition.
  • Click farms: it is a technique used for a long time where a company hires a large number of workers, at low cost, usually in developing countries, whose main task is to make many clicks on text ads, display, videos, or advertisements on social media. It is a less used technique since advertising platforms often have mechanisms to detect this type of fraud.
  • Robot networks: this type of network is formed through the “hijacking” of computers within a server with which it is possible to generate a large number of clicks with different IP addresses.
  • Campaigns on social networks or forums: it is about generating clicks on ads or posts on different platforms through campaigns on social networks or in forums. With this technique, they encourage social media users to be part of click fraud to cause unnecessary advertising costs to the competition or boost the visibility of certain content that they want to position.

3 Ways to Avoid Click Fraud Without Going Crazy

To avoid fraudulent clicks you can for example:

Manually check for suspicious clicks

To do this, advertisers can use a tool like Google Analytics to compare eye-catching clicks against log files. They can analyze aspects such as:

  • The IP address of the person who made those suspicious clicks.
  • The date and time of the click
  • The date and time of action on the web page

If it is detected that an IP address is responsible for a large number of clicks in a certain time, and they do not generate conversions, it is most likely a false click.

Online filter to protect yourself from invalid clicks

Advertisers who advertise on the Google network can use the online filter that monitors all clicks made on ads on the display network and, if there are suspicious clicks by time, date, and IP address, it automatically intercepts them.

Then those clicks are manually checked by Google employees, if they are confirmed they are considered invalid clicks and the advertiser will be compensated.

Remarketing campaigns

Another way to avoid click fraud is remarketing campaigns, where ads are directed only to those users who visited our website at some point and may have taken an action on our website.


As you can see, this click fraud is not nonsense, it exists and it is good to know how to detect it and protect yourself from it.

And it is interesting to know this technique both for advertisers (to avoid spending on advertising with no return) and for those who make money with Adsense ads, since using this strategy to get more clicks can generate a large penalty.

I hope the topic has been interesting and if you think your community may be interested in the article, do not hesitate to share on your social networks.

Did you know about click fraud? Have you ever suffered from this strategy in your ads?

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