We understand that the world of click fraud can seem a bit confusing and littered with technical jargon at times. You may have heard of click fraud terminology which may have been used in various articles or conversations discussing the topic but never fully understood them. With this in mind, we have decided to pinpoint the key terms which are relevant to the issue of click fraud and explore each individually. In our series of blogs, we will look at how each topic is relevant and how it can affect businesses and damage advertising revenue.
But, before we dive into the topics, we thought it best to list each of them to give you a better outline of the key terms.
Now this does not come as a surprise but click fraud can lose you money! You can find many sources detailing how click fraud has affected advertising revenue in recent years and the problem only seems to be getting worse. One of the most shocking statistics which has recently come to light is the estimated $27.2 Billion Dollars (or £20.8 Billion Pounds) which will be lost to click fraud by the end of 2018. That’s roughly the equivalent of half the United Kingdom’s 2018 Defence Budget.
In terms of click fraud terminology, bots represent a more recent development in the history of click fraud. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its more widespread adoption, techniques have become even more sophisticated and Bots are certainly a new feature. One thing is clear, it doesn’t have to be a human to commit click fraud.
VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are relatively new developments in the field of click fraud and can pose just as big a threat as Bots. In essence, VPNs allowed users to remain hidden within a system. Often this means that fraudulent activity can be committed - mostly through an encrypted connection. However, there are ways to combat them and, thankfully, the risk that VPNs represent is beginning to be noticed by search platforms and third parties such as Click Guardian. VPNs themselves are only used as a cloak or shield for fraudulent activity to hide behind.
IP addresses are extremely important within the context of click fraud terminology. In simple terms, IP addresses are assigned to every network-connected device as a form of identity, much like a car registration or house number. Everything from mobile devices, tablets, laptops and computers all have an IP address. It’s not uncommon these days for even fridges or door bells to have their own IP addresses. Identifying fraudulent IP addresses and blocking quickly will persistent prevent click fraud.
Invalid Clicks and click fraud are very similar but there are some differences between them. Within Google Ads, Invalid Clicks are termed as clicks which are irregular or impressions which are suspected of not being genuine. It’s easy to assume that click fraud and Invalid Clicks are the same based on this terminology. However, click fraud is different. Firstly, Invalid Clicks are categorised differently and reliant on a certain algorithm which search platforms use and offers virtually no flexibility. Click fraud is determined by more elaborate methods that often allows user control to prevent it.
It’s understandable to be confused about click fraud and the terminology used, it is a very technical and complex issue but it can be broken down into bite-size chunks which help to build a bigger picture.
In this series we will shed more light on these topics, demonstrating how they contribute to the ongoing threat of click fraud. There is no question that this threat is continuing to grow every year and unfortunately click fraud will not disappear overnight but you can arm yourself with knowledge and take steps to tackle click fraud head-on.