google ads
click fraud prevention

How to use Google Ads and prevent click fraud

When it comes to advertising your product or service online, it is important to choose the right advertising platform to host it on. One great and very popular online advertising platform is none other than Google Ads. If you are curious to learn more about Google Ads, how to use it to prevent click fraud, and more, keep reading! 

Formerly known as Google AdWords and AdWords Express, Google Ads works to promote your advertisements across the internet and Google platforms. With the option to customize your advertisements, budget, and visibility, Google Ads is extremely helpful in making sure that your advertisements achieve the goals you have in mind for growing your business or product. 


In order to set up a Google Ads account, you must first make sure you have an email and/or website for your business or product. After entering or setting up your login credentials with your email address of choice, you must then look to create your own advertisement campaign. Google will automatically give you two set up options to choose from depending on your experience level with digital marketing. Smart Mode is the default mode that will walk you through using Google Ads, regardless of your experience using the platform. On the other hand, it is suggested that marketing professionals use the Expert Mode that quickly takes you through the set up process. Regardless of what set-up mode is chosen, both allow you to create a new campaign for your product and create your own advertisement. 


So how does Google Ads work you may ask? After setting up your account, the first thing you need to do is devise an achievable goal for your advertisement. Do you want more users to see your website? Receive more phone calls and customers to your shop? You can set up your advertising campaigns to meet your goals when it comes to how many calls, shop visits or actions on your website you would hope to receive. You can also choose where it is that your advertisements run by  modifying the location settings. Google Ads allows you to run them locally, globally, or everywhere in between. 


After you have decided where to run your ads, the next step is to create your advertisement. Whether you want to use a template or start from scratch, Google Ads allows you to create ads with pictures that highlight your business. Before your ad goes online, you must set a monthly budget to spend on your ads. Google Ads charges using a pay per click model where your monthly budget covers a certain number of clicks and calls per advertisement. Your monthly budget can be changed or paused at any time, and you can use Google’s featured tools to estimate how many clicks and calls you may receive at a given budget. Therefore, be sure to use this feature when planning how much to spend on your ad campaign. Once you have completed these steps, you should be able to publish your ad for all to see! 


Over time, Google Ads provides useful insights and analytics to help you better advertise your business or service in future campaigns. Yet, two commonly faced issues one should be aware of when looking at advertisement analytics are click fraud and invalid traffic. Click fraud occurs when bots or hired users click on an ad multiple times with no genuine intent of purchasing or learning more about the advertised business or product. While not always the case, most click fraudsters engage in this behavior to use up a competing business’ ad budget and hope their business appears higher up on the search results. This kind of activity is usually considered invalid and can be extremely harmful for the businesses whose ads are targeted. Luckily, Google Ads is able to recognize this type of behavior using their automatic detection systems using machine learning and manual reviewers. 


While Google Ads does its best to try and detect invalid traffic, there are some things that you can do to prevent click fraud from happening:

  1. Check & Block Suspicious IP Addresses:  Make sure to monitor the activity logs when it comes to your advertisements. Google Analytics does a good job in helping you see what IP addresses may be causing invalid traffic, so no need to worry about having to manually look through the server logs. If you do notice that a certain IP address is causing irregular activity, you may want to block it from accessing your advertisements. Luckily, with Google Ads, you can choose what ad campaigns to exclude IP addresses from. That way, your ads are not targeted by bots or click fraudsters.
  2. Change target audience or remarket: Changing the region or sites where your ads are run can make a big difference in preventing click fraud. In addition, you may want to remarket your ads so that they are only seen by real users who are looking to buy your product or service. Usually these genuine users can be identified by looking at if they have saved your page or put something in their cart. 
  3. Add a CAPTCHA or auto-tagging: If using a form for your ad, you may want to add a CAPTCHA and validate that the user is not a bot. While some CAPTCHAs may be faulty, most are helpful in preventing invalid traffic. In addition, having auto-tagging enabled can help you determine if someone came across your website via clicking on your ad. Auto-tagging attaches a Google Click ID (GCID) parameter to the url of the site’s landing page. Therefore, if you are not able to see the GCID parameter in your site analytics, it is possible that your site was not accessed through your ad. 
  4. Fraud detection software:  Monitoring your ads and sites for invalid traffic and click fraud can be quite challenging. With that said, your best option may be to invest in a click fraud detection or prevention software. There are several great options available for your every need, and some softwares such as CHEQ ClickCease cater specifically to Google Ads. 


If you are ever in need of more information regarding using Google Ads and avoiding click fraud, check out Google’s complete guide to Google Ads.