April 18, 2017
Click fraud can be a major hassle and a costly problem. Click fraud happens when an individual or bot repeatedly clicks on an ad to generate fraudulent charges. The major search platforms have protections in place to stop click fraud, but when those protections fail it can be hard to catch, especially in Bing. Luckily, there are a couple tactics that can be deployed to find click fraud before it costs too much.
The Premium Tactics
Click fraud is such a big issue that there are several companies that offer services to monitor for click fraud or to verify the user is a human, such as ClickCease and AreYouAHuman. These services would be my first recommendation, especially if you have a large account with multiple campaigns to monitor.
If you aren’t at the level where you are ready to pay to have your campaigns monitored, there are signs you can watch out for in Google Analytics. A few of these have been written about before, and while high CTRs, underperforming site metrics, and weird referrals are all signs of click fraud, for Bing specifically, there is a further step that can be taken to catch fraudulent clicks.
In Bing, when one person (or bot) fills out a form multiple times, it will count as multiple conversions. If a bot is filling out a form multiple times, you would see multiple conversions and the fraudulent clicks would go unnoticed for a long time, possibly permanently. In Google Analytics, though, if one person submits forms multiple times it only counts as one conversion. Therefore, in Analytics you can compare conversions for returning visitors and if the numbers are off, you might be experiencing click fraud.
To do this go into “Google Analytics -> Audience Behavior -> New Vs. Returning”
From here you will filter by “Source / Medium”
Then, advanced search to filter for Bing.
From here, you will look at your goal competition rates. If you are getting way higher goal completion rates for returning visitors over new visitors you should be looking for click fraud in your Bing account. Here is an example from an account that did discover click fraud after noticing the much higher completion rate for returning visitors.
As you can see, the rates are suspiciously higher for returning visitors. For this case, it ended up being discovered that a website was either running a bot or paying someone to fill out forms so that the fraud wouldn’t be noticed. They got too greedy, though, and now they are blocked on the account. Not having this view in Analytics would have made it much harder to catch the fraud.
In the end, click fraud is a costly nuisance that is here to stay. To ensure you are protected against click fraud, the best plan is to bring in a company that specializes in monitoring accounts. However, when that isn’t an option, keeping a close eye on the account is the way to go. Be wary of huge spikes In CTRs, weird referrals, and underperforming site metrics. Then specifically for Bing, watch the goal completion rate of returning visitors. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Have you ever experienced click fraud? What do you do to monitor your campaigns? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter!