Ways to Minimize Click Fraud

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I was reading yet another article the other day which referred to Click Forensic’s Click Fraud Index, and was particularly interested in their threat map, pictured below.

I’m not going to bother dealing with the numbers quoted, or commenting on which countries are more threatening, but if their threat map is real, what an easy problem this is for you to start dealing with, at least as far as Google, and Yahoo are concerned. That’s right, using their information, it’s relatively easy to minimize your exposure to Click Fraud, and to make your campaign much more effective at the same time.

How about that? Advice which won’t cost you a penny, but will save you a bundle in your PPC campaigns. The best part of it is, you’ll not just limit your exposure to Click Fraud, but you’ll also increase campaign ROI in innumerable ways.

Here’s how you go about it. If you are a retailer selling only in specific countries, why aren’t you simply geo-targeting those countries? If you only sell, or want to reach customers in the U.S., why would your campaign not have geographic parameters? Simple, isn’t it? But you can’t just simply choose U.S. only in your geo targeting. If you do that you’re simply limiting yourself to people accessing .com, .net, and .org sites. People in India (fiery red hot problem spot according to the Click Fraud Index), and Canada (a much bigger problem than the U.S., with only 10% the population), who use Google.com, or go to read businessweek.com will still see your ads. Why?

Well, if all you do is select “U.S. only” then you’re limiting your ads to anyone in the world using the U.S. default engines. Same thing if you’re running a UK only campaign, people in Argentina (another hot spot!) looking for information about the Falklands (err… Malvinas) on google.co.uk, or theregister.co.uk will see Google ads set to “UK Only.”

The good news is that it’s easy to keep those nasty Argentinian click fraudsters away from your ads, (actually I know and like quite a few Argentinians, and their wines!), so you never need to worry about them causing you grief.

The solution really is simple, go into your campaign settings, and instead of choosing “U.S. only” choose each of the 50 States, plus D.C. individually. Now you’ve just limited your campaign to people located only within the 50 States & D.C. Much better, isn’t it?

So what happens now when Google (or Yahoo or anyone else) serves out your ad to a viewer in Argentina, India, or Canada? Well, now you can go back to them, and file a claim for incorrect billings. These clickthroughs should now be labeled as “invalid”, and you should not be responsible for them. After all, if you rent a billboard in Las Vegas, and the company instead erects it in San Jose, you wouldn’t logically be required to pay would you? Same principal should apply here as well.

So, it’s really pretty easy to cut back on your exposure to potential click fraud, isn’t it?

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