How We Reduced A Client’s Cost Per Conversion
By 1000% In Only One Month.

This is a case study on how one of our clients was losing 60% of their entire Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising budget to fraudulent clicks. If you are currently advertising on Google or Bing or plan to in the near future, then this case study will show you how big of a problem fraudulent clicks are and what to look for to see if you are a victim.

What Is Click Fraud?

According to Wikipedia Click Fraud is described as the following:

Click fraud is a type of fraud that occurs on the Internet in pay-per-click (PPC) 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.

How Big Of A Problem Is Click Fraud?

The simple answer is huge. Fraudulent clicks range anywhere from 10% to as high as 65% of all clicks.

A global manufacturing company signed up with our agency for PPC Management. They had been advertising on Google Adwords since 2009 and had seen great success with their campaigns. However, in the last two years their returns diminished and PPC was no longer making sense for them.

The client suddenly saw an increase in daily and monthly click volume. Sudden and irregular patterns are a key indicator that more in-depth research should be done. Always keep an eye out for any suspicious traffic patterns as it can be an indicator of Click Fraud.

In Mid 2014 their PPC traffic began to sky rocket as shown in the graph above. Not only were they receiving more clicks and spending their entire daily budget but their number of leads and sales decreased. They began bouncing from agency to agency every six months for the next two years until they signed up with our agency on January 1st 2016.

It took less than a week for us to identify they were a victim of click fraud and their campaign had suffered greatly because of it. The below image is a screen shot of their Adwords campaign on 2/15/16. You will notice that Adwords is reporting they received 7 clicks and billed the client $374.33 for those clicks.

On 2/15/16 Google AdWords charged the client for seven clicks. Even though clicks are recorded in Google AdWords or Bing it does not mean that all those clicks are real.

Our agency, Fast Web Help, utilizes several levels of protection that are not included with any of our competitors’ packages. One of the features that is included with our Pay Per Click Management Service is fraud protection. We had installed proprietary advanced tracking software onto the client’s site and dove in deeper to see if these clicks were real customers or if they were fraudulent. Look at the below graph to see a detailed list of ALL visits their website had received from their AdWords campaign on that day.

A deeper look into clicks received through the PPC campaign revealed a total of 35 clikcs occured. Google identified 28 of the clicks were fraud and billed the client for seven clikcs. The image above clearly shows that only four clicks appeared to be valid.

The above image is a screen shot from our advanced tracking software which tracks users IP’s, location, time on site and many other detailed stats. What this advanced tracking shows us is that the client received a total of 35 clicks to their PPC ad in a single day. The good news is that Google does try to protect its advertisers. They didn’t charge the client for 35 clicks but for only 7 clicks. This means Google did protect the client from the bulk of the click fraud. Which is great! The bad news is that Google charged the client for 7 clicks but in reality only 4 clicks are from real visitors. Which means this client was wasting 60% of their daily budget towards click fraud.

A closer inspection of the above data reveals that a single IP (IP is essentially a computer’s name badge on the internet) would click on the customer’s ad 4 times in a row. You can see the column “First Click” and the column “Last Click” and see that these 4 clicks happened over a 40 second period of time. The repeated clicking of your ad with a near zero time on site is a form of click fraud.

Notice how this IP (person/bot) clicked the client’s ad four times in a row between 10:25 and 10:26. Within 40 seconds this IP clicked their ad, returned back to the search page and then would repeat for four times. This is a prime example of click fraud.

All the IP’s that were clicking the client’s ad four times in a row were automatically disregarded as fraud by Google and the client wasn’t charged for those. However, another click fraud occurred three times in a row from a single IP which Google did not catch and the client was billed for.

This IP (person/bot) visited the client’s website three times within less than a minute. This is another example of click fraud that Google charged the client for. This IP went on to repeat this process every day until blocked.

The good news is that the majority of click fraud seems to come from very few different IP’s. Each client we handle has a few different IP’s that are hammering them each and every day. Google and Bing both allow you to setup IP Exclusion Lists which allow your ads to NOT show to certain IPs. So it’s relatively easy to block the same IP’s from clicking your ads day after day.

Once you have removed the main culprits causing the click fraud your account should dramatically improve overnight. However, it takes constant monitoring of your clicks because new robots or spam users appear roughly every four to six days. The real issue is that not all fraud clicks are so easy to detect. Some will visit your site only every few days and just visit the site once that day. You will really need to study long term trends of how IP’s visit and interact with your site to determine fraudulent trends.

The Benefit Of Preventing Click Fraud?

We took over this client’s account in January of 2016 and one month later in February of 2016 we had reduced the client’s cost per acquisition by 1000%. In December the client’s cost per conversion was $612.83 and by early February it was $60.45.

This graph represents the client’s Cost Per Conversion. Prior to hiring our agency they were spending $612.83 per conversion and once click fraud prevention was implemented their Cost Per Conversion immediately dropped to $60.45. This is a 1000% reduction in their customer acquisition costs.

Not only were we able to reduce the client’s customer acquisition cost by 10X but we increased their sales from PPC by 1200%. The three months prior to hiring our agency the client was only receiving one conversion a month from their PPC efforts. By February, two months after we started, the client’s conversions skyrocketed to twelve conversions by only the middle of February.

Once click fraud prevention was implemented along with some other fundamental changes we were able to turn around this client’s PPC campaign. We were able to run around four month slump and increase their monthly conversions by 1200%.

We can’t attribute all of the success of this campaign to fraud protection because we also adjusted their PPC campaign in other ways. However, without the fraud protection all of our efforts would have been lost. The client was thrilled with the results and sent us the below testimonial.

“After using over five different PPC Managers we are thrilled with the results we received from Fast Web Help. We no longer are throwing away thousands of dollars towards fraud. We are big believers in PPC advertising and Fast Web Help!”
– Ben B.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, the majority of free or even paid website analytic software don’t provide the necessary data to protect yourself from click fraud. Google Analytics, the most popular website tracking software, doesn’t even track IP’s and so it will be no help in click fraud prevention.

Here are a few recommendations to help protect yourself:

  1. Receive a free email or thirty minute phone consultation from a Certified Adwords specialist. In this consultation you will learn if you are currently a victim to click fraud, receive some free tips on how to protect yourself and learn about some available options to help improve your campaign.
  2. If you are currently spending over $1,000 a month on any PPC campaign then we suggest you consider our Click Fraud Prevention Program. This program is designed to protect you from all click fraud and help you recoup wasted money by applying for refunds for fraudulent clicks. This program has helped one of our customers increase their sales by 1200% and decrease their ad spend by 50%. If you are currently spending over $1,000 a month on PPC advertising then this program is a no brainer. It will pay for itself several times over and help get your campaign more results. Click Here to learn more about this program.
  3. Consider hiring us! We offer full PPC Management for as low as $495 per month. Not only is fraud protection included in this monthly price but we will also completely manage your PPC advertising. As certified experts we have access to tools, software and knowledge that allows us to reduce your cost per click, increase your conversions and dominate your market. Learn more about our PPC Management by clicking Here.

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