Defending Against Click Fraud

click fraud,PPCAnchorIntelligence.com partnered with LookSmart.com to present a report entitled, ANCHOR INTELLIGENCE REPORT: ANATOMY OF A FRAUDSTER. The following excerpt offers useful tips for monitoring and defending against click fraud for your pay-per-click campaigns:
1) Watch for significant variations in campaign performance: Look at your reports to identify sudden peaks and other anomalies in your daily traffic and costs. If you cannot determine the cause and the peaks are not associated with corresponding lifts in performance, consider stopping your campaign and/or asking your network to investigate further.
2) Prevent competitive click fraud: Do a few searches on your keywords to compile a list of relevant competitors. Then open your Command Prompt on your PC (or Terminal on your Mac) and ping each competitor’s domain (e.g. type “ping www.COMPETITORDOMAINNAME.com”) to ascertain their company IP address. You can find their entire range of IPs by using services such as www.arin.net. Be sure to check that the IPs are registered to the company directly, as opposed to the company’s hosting provider. If they are, add those IPs to your account IP exclusion lists (when available).
3) Don’t drain your own budget: If you’re concerned about clicks coming from your own employees, add your company’s IPs to your account IP exclusion lists (when available).
4) Block poor performing referrers: Assuming your analytics package provides referral and conversion information, start with your highest volume referrers and determine which sites fail to drive any conversions or other useful user sessions. If you notice that your ads/keywords are performing poorly on particular sites, reduce your bids for those publishers/channels. For high volume sites that generate zero conversions, selectively use the domain/channelblocking feature to prevent your ads from appearing on those sites in the future.
5) Monitor high dollar CPC terms closely: Keywords with high CPCs have historically been more vulnerable to click fraud attacks than those with low CPCs. So pay particular attention to these keywords and the referrers that generate disproportionately more traffic to your site through these keywords. Determine whether or not you’re seeing a positive ROI on your bids. If not, consider lowering your bids on poor-performing keywords/ads and allocating more spend to higher performing keywords/ads.
6) Geo-target your ads appropriately: If you do not sell products outside of North America, be sure to limit your geo-targeting to North America. If you do sell products abroad, monitor the performance of your international ads. If you find that your ads perform poorly in certain geographies, update your geo-targeting preferences accordingly. Keep a critical eye out for countries such as UAE, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. Anchor has seen relatively high volumes of fraud originating from these countries.
7) Use ad scheduling: Monitor the quality of your traffic according to time of day and day of the week. For instance, we find that humans typically use the internet during the day, while bots can run 24 hours a day. If you find that your conversion rates are higher in the mornings than late at night, you may want to daypart your bids to reduce exposure to lower-converting traffic.
8) Leverage a 3rd party traffic quality solution: Your ad network/search engine is not infallible. In order to ensure that you are not being charged for fraudulent clicks, consider using a 3rd party traffic quality solution, such as Anchor Intelligence. By providing deep insight into the quality of each click/impression as well as the factors that contribute to each click/impression score, Anchor Intelligence helps to educate you on click fraud and traffic quality. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to improve your ad spend allocation decisions and ensure you are not paying for unwanted traffic.
9) Investigate your network: Before signing up with an ad network or search engine, do some research into its policies. For instance, you should determine whether the network uses frequency caps to prevent duplicate clicks originating from the same IP from being charged to your account. Also check to ensure that they are using the IAB/ABCe International Spiders & Bots List and not charging you for clicks from these robots. Finally, peruse their Terms of Use to determine the extent to which they care about the quality of traffic you receive. For example, look for restrictions against authorizing, encouraging, or generating fraudulent clicks or impressions; editing, modifying, removing, or obscuring ads; and displaying ads on error pages or “thank you” pages.
10) Encourage your ad network(s) to also use 3rd party scoring solutions: Your ad network may not realize that you are concerned about click fraud. The more you and other advertisers ask networks to take additional steps to prevent and filter click fraud, the more likely these companies will be to proactively protect you. In particular, you should encourage your network(s) to engage the services of 3rd party traffic quality solutions providers. These 3rd parties monitor the traffic quality within and across networks, to help ensure that you see the highest possible ROI on your advertising spend while giving you confidence in the quality of your clicks.

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