Published January 26, 2018

What is Click Fraud?

Click fraud occurs when fake clicks are registered on an advertisement despite there being no genuine interest in the advertiser’s business. This is a problem for advertisers because many of the ads they buy are Pay Per Click (PPC), which means that they are charged for every “click” made on the ad - regardless of the user’s actual interest.

Click fraud is a popular way for fraudsters to make money by siphoning the companies’ ad budgets. Traditionally, real human traffic has been used to generate fraudulent clicks by employing hundreds of people in “click farms”. These people are paid to sit and click on ads all day despite having no interest in the company or services.

Other more subtle ad-clicking scams present themselves as work from home jobs, where employees believe they are simply “reviewing ads” and often have no idea that they are perpetuating advertising fraud.

However, due to the lower costs and advances in automation, using bots to click on ads has become the preferred method for many fraudsters. By using software that is designed to mimic real user behavior, fraudsters can rapidly generate thousands of fake clicks on a given ad until the ad networks register them as high-quality real human users.

For instance, if thousands of bots keep clicking on an ad for organic supplements, they will now be registered as high quality “health and wellness” users, which are considered very valuable by the ad network due to their buying habits and other associated demographics.

Other more subtle ad-clicking scams present themselves as work from home jobs, where employees believe they are simply “reviewing ads” and often have no idea that they are perpetuating advertising fraud.

To get paid then, all the fraudster needs to do is drive this traffic to their website, and the ad network will now pay them to display similar ads to that fake group of “health and wellness” users. As a result, using automated technology and non-human traffic is a great way to defraud advertising dollars from eCommerce advertisers.

Advertisers need tools that can identify invalid users and show them which campaigns are being wasted by marketing to this fake traffic. Once advertisers can see which ads are registering high numbers of fraudulent clicks, they can then choose to reallocate their budgets to campaigns that market more effectively to real users.

Using machine learning and big data techniques applied to over ten years of collected data, NS8 has developed tools that can provide eCommerce advertisers much greater transparency into their ad campaigns. With NS8 Protect and NS8 TrueStats, merchants can see exactly which of their campaigns are being wasted on targeting bot traffic and other fraudulent impressions.

NS8 Protect

Protect your storefront from click fraud and the other revenue killers.

Learn More