If you’ve ran Google ads, you know that fake clicks can be a costly problem. Sometimes it is as simple a competitor up the road clicking your ad to be a thorn in your ass. Other times it can be a highly automated operation systematically kicking your ass.
According to Clickcease, click fraud was 14.08% of clicks from paid search campaigns and amounted to $42 Billion in 2021.
As a marketer that drives conversions from paid advertisement sources, minimizing click fraud is in my best interest.
My Click Fraud Problems with Google Ads
As a conversion focused marketer, I’ve never really cared much about click fraud. I only pay attention to my cost per conversion, and quite rarely even look at my cost per click which would typically reveal more insight into click behavior.
By and large, the ad platforms do a great job of filter our click fraud when it is unlikely to trigger a conversion.
BUT when the click fraud does Trigger a conversion; HOLY SHIT. You have a problem as the algo starts serving ads to more and more click fraudsters.
This led me to get burned for over $41,000 one awful weekend in June 2022 on a Google Video campaign. The click fraudsters were not just clicking the ad, but completing my web forms thus triggering conversions.
For further context my Google Ads campaigns run with a target CPA set (related: My Target CPA vs Max Conversions Test), and a daily budget that is typically at $10,000, as was the case here. As long as the campaign stays true to my Target CPA and I am getting conversions from real users, I am finding spending ‘infinite’ amounts.
In this case the conversions were all from fake users.
The problem was not limited to this one video campaign, as over the next couple of weeks, conversions from click fraud came in from Discovery, Display and Performance Max campaigns (related: Performance Max Best Practices From $43,000 Adspend). Fortunately after the expensive problem in the video ads campaign, all other budgets had been reduced and conversions were monitored so we could stop things promptly.
If you’re wondering, I have never had a problem with Google Search Ads, or Facebook / Insta Ads.
Ok, So What Is Clickcease?
My quest for a solution to this click fraud led me to look into Clickcease as a potential solution.
In their own words, Clickcease is a…
“Top-rated click fraud and ad fraud prevention service for Google and Facebook ads”
They do indeed seem to be top rated with over 1,000 5-star reviews across platforms such as Capterra and Trustpilot.
To cut through the word salad I quoted above, Clickcease basically detects fraud/spam clicks on your ads, reports that in a nice interface and and gives you the opportunity to report it back to Google / Facebook to block it.
That sounds great!
How Clickcease Works With Google Ads
As someone who tries to keep their tech stack minimal, I wanted to understand exactly how ClickCease works before signing up — at least regarding Google Ads.
From my research of the Clickcease website I learned that Clickcease works by taking the IP address identified, and adding it to the list of IP exclusions in Google ads.
The IP Address is key. It blocks the specific IP Address.
I did not research into how it works with Facebook.
Why Clickcease Wouldn’t Work.
In my case of click fraud, the fraudsters would come click through and submit a web form including a address. These guys would input real US addresses, and they would spoof their IP address to be near at that location. So every in every case they would have a different IP address.
Considering how Clickcease works in blocking the IP address of the fraud, it would not at all prevent the the next click fraud with a (different) spoofed IP address.
While this might sound ‘high level’ my correspondence with other advertisers indicates it is rampant on Google ads.
On simple matter of click fraud, like a competitor clicking your Google Ads, Clickcease would be effective, but in the case of conversion targeting ads, Google will do most of the heavy lifting when it realizes they’re not converting.
Click Fraud Solutions
I was ultimately able to devise a solution to the click fraud that has been successful and allowed me to get back to scaling Google Ads campaigns, and cranking the budget up to $10,000 and beyond.
I’m not going to be sharing the solutions publicly as I have invest a lot of resources into it, but I will offer solutions on a paid consulting basis. Please contact me if interested.