Pay-per-click (PPC) fraud figures continue to rise according to ClickForensics. PPC data collected from more than 4,000 online advertisers and agencies show that average click fraud rates have risen to 28.3 percent on content networks. In other words, roughly 1 in 4 clicks on content networks is not real. Overall, click fraud is estimated at 16 percent. So what does this mean to businesses and advertisers?
What exactly is click fraud?
“Click fraud is a type of internet crime that occurs in pay per click online advertising when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicking on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link.”
Why does click fraud occur?
The two main reasons for committing click fraud are:
- Competitors attempting to drain your advertising budget
- Publishers purposely increasing their own revenue
eMarketer Inc. projects that the PPC industry in the U.S alone will grow to $29 billion by 2010. This would mean at today’s click fraud rate 16 percent, $4.46 billion dollars could be a direct result of fraud in 2010. That is a staggering figure considering that the total number of spammers in the world today is estimated to be in the hundreds.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Companies such as Google Ads and Chitika have sophisticated methods to counteract click fraud, but as with anything, scammers will find a way around it, especially when there is such a small likelihood of getting prosecuted.
How can you beat click fraud?
Algorithms and agencies do not protect you fully against click fraud. It is inevitable that your traffic will not all be geniune with PPC, but there are measures you can take to limit how much money you lose. This post isn’t about limiting click fraud, its about rethinking the source the problem.
What exactly is the problem?
Conversations are not taking place
Conversations are not about reaching critical mass, but about making meaningful connections. That is the difference between PPC campaigns and Social Media ones.
Bombarding users with traditional advertising may give you a conversion ratio which seems reasonable, but engaging them in conversation through social media will strengthen your brand, target specific audiences, and present opportunities for building long lasting relationships. Investing in your users has the potential to pay much more dividends than blindly advertising to them, especially with the growing concern of advertising blindness.
Take google as an example:
“At the most basic level, instead of carpet-bombing consumers with traditional ads to build its brand – “Google is Search Done Right”, a glisteningly plastic spokesmodel tells you ad infinitum – Google makes a revolutionary strategic decision”
That decision is to “invest in consumers instead of advertising to them.”
Think outside the box
As far as internet advertising goes, PPC campaigns have brought success to many companies over the years. It costs money, but it will work to some degree and has proven to be a reliable online business model. It’s simple and controllable. Success or failure is easy to measure. They are essentially one way conversations which some people may listen to.
On the other hand social media is new and it’s business case is harder to demonstrate. It’s successes can be more difficult to measure, but when planned and conducted properly, the rewards are so much more rewarding:
- A connectedness with your audience that cannot be achieved with PPC alone
- Immense recommendation power that can turn a business into real success
- Can Increase sales and conversions
- Reducing costs of achieving the same PPC targets
- Increase brand exposure in ways which were not possible before
- Gain a real understanding of your audience
Social media marketing provides a different way to achieve results than PPC campaigns. Social media campaigns don’t need to exist in isolation. They can easily work complimentary to your existing campaigns. Why not begin experimenting today?
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