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Paid Search and Display

AdWords and invalid clicks


Published on Nov 9, 2018

Google AdWords is an online advertising service developed by Google, where advertisers pay to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, and video content within the Google ad network to web users

Since it is a paid service, any invalid click will result in loss of revenue for you. So, it is economically necessary that this potential drain of revenue is plugged.

Google considers invalid click activity as any clicks or impressions that artificially inflate an advertiser's costs or a publisher's earnings Click fraud still exists, even with Google's Ad Traffic quality team monitoring traffic across its ad network in an effort to prevent advertisers from paying for invalid traffic.

Some steps that you can take to prevent revenue loss while using AdWords:

  1. Monitoring ad traffic:
    • Segment your ad traffic - Break down your traffic into segments and based on different channels, will make it easier to determine how these sources affect your traffic.
    • Be aware of who's visiting your site - Use Google Analytics to really understand the source of your traffic, as well as all user behaviours.
    • Avoid partnering with low-quality sites - Invalid clicks and traffic may increase when working with questionable and untrustworthy ad networks.
    • Don't click on your own ads - You might think it's perfectly fine to click on your own Adwords campaigns, but this activity is filtered by Google and may raise some red flags. Google may see this as trying to inflate your own earnings and Google will disable the account.
    • Check your implementation - Make sure your ad campaigns adhere to the policies, have no errors, and run smoothly on all browsers so that users will react to them the way you want them to.
    • Use the site authorization feature - This allows you to identify certain sites that have access to your Google ad code in order to prevent unauthorized use of your code by others
  2. Third party tracking methods:
    Tracking via third-party software or custom ad implementations can be a risky. The third party service may gather sensitive information from your website and also the tracking method of these third party sources may violate Google's term and conditions that may result in your website being blocked. Besides, the third party services may not give significant and relevant information that you seek.
  3. Let Google do some of the work:
    There are three particular types of processes Google uses to detect invalid clicks:
    1. Filters - Automated algorithms proactively filter clicks before it is even charged to the account. The discarded clicks can be viewed in your Adwords account.
    2. Offline analysis - Both automated algorithms and manual analysis are used to detect invalid clicks while offline, and is credited to the advertisers. The date from offline analysis is used to update the online monitoring systems.
    3. Investigations - All inquiries about invalid clicks are addressed and investigated by Google. Although this is a rare occurrence, it is taken very seriously and usually resolved within a few days.
  4. Monitor, receive and report:
    Protecting advertiser's interests through continued monitoring is key to keeping the network as a balanced ecosystem where users, publishers, and advertisers can all grow and thrive.
    Google reimburses credits for the invalid clicks detected by the automatic system. Also, the manually detected clicks are updated as potentially invalid clicks into the automated system thus improving the efficiency. Credits can easily be viewed in the billing section of your account. If you're watching your campaigns you should be able to protect yourself from fraud.
  5. Daily budget:
    • In the early days of your AdWords campaign, you may see that your budget is being consumed faster. This may happen if your campaign is not calibrated perfectly.
    • Changes in web content and user behaviour may affect the performance of your ad due to how traffic varies at different hours.
    • Recent trends, news items, or current events at times dramatically influence the number of impressions and clicks you receive.
    • Different times of the day may yield more valuable traffic depending on the set up of your ad delivery method which should ideally be targeted towards a particular time period.
    • Ad delivery method set to Accelerated speeds up the occurrence of your ads, which will deplete your daily budget faster than anticipated.

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