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Many PPC marketers have a tendency to think that click fraud is a thing of the past or that it’s being handled by the ad networks that sell them clicks. While they’re partly right, there is a whole realm of invalid traffic (or click fraud) that search engines and ad platforms don’t pick up on.

Detect click fraud isn’t always easy, especially since attackers continue to develop sophisticated methods to manipulate ads. For example, they can use bots to click on ad multiple times or even create a sequence of clicks from different devices and IP addresses in order to make it look more legitimate.

Click Fraud 101: Recognizing and Safeguarding Against Suspicious Click Activity

The best way to spot click fraud is by looking at the unique clicks and total clicks that your campaign receives. If there are peaks in the number of unique clicks with very low conversion rates, you may be experiencing malicious click fraud. Additionally, high clicks coming from a single device or IP address may indicate that you are being targeted by click farms.

Malicious click fraud occurs purely to deplete your advertising budget and cost you money. It’s typically committed by competitors who want to harm you or other digital advertisers for their own profit. In these cases, a competitor will usually hire a person or company to commit click fraud on their behalf.

Malicious click fraud can be hard to detect as attackers will usually try to blend in with real users by using different devices, IP addresses and even a VPN or proxy to hide their location. However, there are a few signs that you can look for to help identify click fraud – such as the action timestamp of a bot-based attack, a similar action timestamp between multiple ads clicked by a single user, a wide range of locations clicked from by a single user and more.

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