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How to Stop Competitors from Clicking on my Ads

Firstly, what is click fraud?

When you are running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google Ads, you pay every time someone clicks on your ads. Unfortunately, sometimes it may not be a human clicking on your ad but a bot, or your competitors are deliberately and repeatedly clicking on your ads with no intention of converting. Your competitors stand to gain from fraudulently clicking on your ads.

This can quickly use up your advertising budget and you may not reach your target audience, or you may still reach your target audience but at an extremely inflated cost-per-click (CPC). This is particularly bad for PPC campaigns because you lose your return on investment (ROI).

How to identify click fraud.

Below are some warning signs of potential click fraud.

  • If you have sudden peaks in clicks and impressions in your campaign without having made any changes to your campaign.
  • If you have conversion tracking set up for your campaign (highly recommend setting up conversion tracking) and you see the same increase in clicks and impressions but little to no conversions.
  • If the number of page views you receive during a peak in clicks drops to one page per click.

How to reduce click fraud?

The following are some of the ways you can reduce further click fraud.

  • Use the IP exclusions setting in Google Ads. This may be a sophisticated process for some but is a good way to reduce click fraud. In your Google Ads account, go to the settings tab and select IP exclusions. With this, you can block certain IP addresses from seeing your ads. If a particular IP address is frequently clicking on your ad without converting, you can block that IP address and they will no longer be able to see your ad.
  • Make your campaigns more targeted. This can be as easy as adding targeted audiences or custom audiences to your campaigns. Targeting smaller geographical locations or changing your keyword match type to phrase or exact match will also help make your campaign more targeted.
  • Click fraud protection software. ClickCease, ClickGuard, PPC Shield and many more like them can integrate directly into your Google Ads account. Click fraud protection software can detect IP addresses that may be clicking on your ads frequently without converting and block them automatically. This is a good way of reducing click fraud in your campaigns.

Unfortunately, software like this requires a monthly subscription however, this may be the smaller price to pay compared to inflated CPC in your PPC campaigns.

If your competitors or bots are clicking on your ads to use up your PPC budget there are several ways of detecting this and preventing further click fraud. Which method you use may vary depending on the scale of your campaign and the scale of the click fraud affecting your campaign.

For smaller campaigns, it may be better to adjust your targeting to a smaller audience size to exclude those fraudulent clicks. For larger campaigns that are highly affected by click fraud; using click fraud protection software may be the most effective way of preventing further click fraud in your campaign. 

Unfortunately, you may not be able to completely stop click fraud on your PPC campaigns but, you can reduce it and prevent it from depleting your PPC budget.