VPN is an encryption technology often used by marketers and other digital professionals. Unfortunately, not everyone uses VPNs for good. Below we will tell you about the relationship of this technology with click fraud and tell you about the current methods of fighting online fraud.
What is click fraud
Let’s start with what click fraud is. From English this term is translated as “false press”. This is one of the most common types of search ad fraud, where you pay for clicks on a link. According to analysts, about 10% of all clicks on the Internet are fraudulent.
When clicking fraud, outsiders visit the advertised site, for example, business competitors. In this way, they make their rival pay more for advertising than planned. Careless webmasters often use click fraud: this allows them to get more profit from their clients.
How VPN technology relates to click fraud
Since click fraud damages companies and undermines the reputation of search engines, the latter are trying to find effective methods of dealing with them. For example, modern search engines record the number of clicks from one IP address. The more there are, the higher the risk of fraud.
As you know, VPN technology masks the user’s real IP address and replaces it with a new one. Webmasters who use click fraud are well aware of this. Therefore, they actively turn on VPNs and perform their fraudulent operations while remaining unrecognized. Fortunately, duplicate IP address is far from the only tool for detecting click fraud.
What other criteria can you use to detect fraud?
There are special services on the Internet that successfully detect questionable clicks. Below we outline the main criteria they use. You can start putting them into practice too.
Suspiciously short time spent by the user on the site
If a user goes to a site using a link or banner, but immediately leaves it, then the probability of click fraud is quite high. Sometimes the number of such “failures” increases dramatically on certain days and hours. This indicates the dishonest actions of ill-wishers.
Lack of standard actions
To get a more accurate result about the fact of fraud, try to track the actions of suspicious users on the site. The average person performs at least a couple of movements with the mouse and scrolls down the page. This rarely happens with click fraud.
This point should be considered in conjunction with the previous one. A sudden increase in the number of conversions to a site with a drop in conversion is a clear sign of click fraud. To verify this, just look at the statistics and find out where the suspicious users came from.
Fast spending of your advertising budget
When you are dealing with click fraud, there is nothing supernatural about spending ad money quickly. If the amount that was previously enough to maintain an advertising campaign for a day is now only enough for a couple of hours, you should think about it.
The presence of visitors from “non-target” regions
When users from other countries and regions begin to regularly visit a site, there must be a good reason. There are two options: either the ad is configured incorrectly, or the site has been chosen by scammers who know what click fraud is. Of course, first you should carefully check the probability of the first option.
High traffic from certain devices
It happens that a lot of traffic comes from one or more devices (a smartphone, tablet or computer model), and the duration of visits is unnaturally short. To find out if click fraud is involved here, it is enough to test the operation of the site from suspicious devices.
What to do
If you think your ad is being clicked, take action. We recommend that you take the following protective measures:
Block all suspicious IPs… Don’t be afraid of this. Agree: it is better to miss one or more targeted visitors than to spend a lot of money on non-targeted users.
Exclude a specific region or device… If you find that most of the conversions to your site are made from a specific location and from a specific mobile phone model, simply remove them from ads. However, be prepared for the fact that this does not completely solve the problem.
Narrow down your target audience… This move often confuses scammers. Review your keywords and change your ad text to be effective.
Continue to use retargeting, but in parallel put a ban on repeated ad impressions… After this simple step, you will see how the number of invalid clicks starts to drop.
Seek help from an advertising platform… Describe your problem in detail and send a letter to Yandex.Direct or Google Ads. Be sure to include the ad number and the period during which you see suspicious ad clicks. Technical support is just as interested as you are in identifying fraud and improving their service. You can even get a refund for the amount spent on advertising.
Use services to help get rid of click fraud… This is especially true for small and medium businesses, which usually do not have their own cybersecurity service. Special companies develop programs that can reliably protect their users from attacks from ill-wishers. The amount spent on such protection is usually much less than the losses that fake clicks can bring.