How does PPC advertising work?
It’s pretty simple and logical. The advertiser pays the programmatic platform or advertising agents like Google, Yahoo and Bing to put up their advertisements, as in the case of events and their sponsors. In return, the company gets more potential buyers.
Why is it called PPC?
As the term implies, for every click on the published advertisement by an interested client, the advertisers are charged to pay the advertising platform a certain amount for increasing their sales.
Is PPC model an incentive for fraudsters?
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model was introduced in order to allow advertisers to direct potential customers to their website, by shining the spotlight on the required search or query.
However, PPC model has also become a fraudulent method to drive ill-conceived revenue into the hands of advertising companies and the enabler. This is where click fraud comes into the picture.
What is Click Fraud?
When a person, automated script or computer program acting as a genuine client clicks on the advertisement without any actual interest in the ad’s target link, the investment made by the advertiser turns into a loss – not only in terms of money but also in terms of customers.
There are three ways click fraud can take place – automatic, manual and through ‘click farms’.
Automatic click fraud takes place by programmed bots or systems.
Manual click fraud is implemented by actual human beings specially hired to repeatedly click on certain ads.
“Click farms” are a team of people hired to carry out click fraud in a systematic way, such that they can almost be mistaken for an automated system.
Impact of Click Fraud
It leads to immense profit for the advertising platform at the expense of the advertisers’ investment.
The impact this has on the advertisers’ company is significant. The time and effort put into product campaigns and the advertisement designs become futile. If the ratio of clicks-to-sales is too high, these campaigns may be canceled.
This also gives rise to skepticism between the advertiser and the advertising company, forcing the advertisers to take extra measures to protect their brand.
Business owner, Gurminder Singh, had very recently filed a case against Google AdSense (Google’s advertising platform) for billion dollars’ worth of click fraud. He alleged that he ran various tests and experiments to determine the extent of click fraud by Google. However, his allegations did not suffice to carry out the lawsuit.
Clearly, with growing technology, such crimes have become almost impossible to detect.
Although click fraud is becoming a case of increasing litigation, it is not enough to prevent it completely as this is a widespread global crime which is not limited to a certain area.
What measures can be taken?
There are various methods to do just that – specially designed ad verification services which add firewalls that gives an option to the advertiser to block clicks and conceal the ads to certain users, competitors and bots – Botman being one of the leading players in the market.
What measures are being taken?
Many companies are coming up with solutions to identify and eliminate click fraud. Google and Yahoo, two of the largest advertising platforms, have come up with automated detection systems that catch invalid clicks and blocks them before any significant harm is done.
Any unusual or incessant pattern of clicking is being immediately looked into and tracked to eliminate the root source.
It has been estimated that almost 16.4 billion dollars have been lost due to ad fraud in 2017 itself, click fraud is the major reason.
Most minor companies do not even know of this injustice and are being cheated by the millions, even before they start to establish their position in the economy.
It’s become a case of utmost importance to create awareness and better technological solutions to stop this crime for good.