The Online Advertising “Click Fraud” battle is not new.
If you have ever paid for online advertising you are probably familiar with Click Fraud. Click Fraud happens when paid ads are “clicked” when the “clicker” is not actually interested in your product or service. Sometimes competitors are the perpetrators, sites that make money off of ads on their sites have been found guilty of artificially inflating the number of clicks their ads receive. Other times there are things called “click farms” that pay people to go to the internet and click on things. There are also ads that are placed in ways where people click them on accident and truly have no interest in your product or service.
Every advertising platform has tried to combat click fraud. For example, the company Auction-Experts allowed Google to place pay-for-click ads on their website. Then hired people to “click” ads displayed on their own website. Each “click” earning Auction-Experts a fraction of profit. In the end, advertisers lost $50K through AdWords, but Google won the lawsuit. Google did the right thing by trying to maintain business integrity for all parties.
That is not always the case. In a lawsuit in July of 2006, Google settled for $90 million. Google was accused of charging advertisers money for “clicks” that were not genuine consumers. Google has updated the algorithms and adjusted the way that it charges advertisers.
Facebook had similar problems when they launched ads. If you would like to watch this video it will explain the problem they had better. Veritasium did a great job of explaining the problem Facebook encountered. Facebook has been adjusting the way that they calculate clicks, likes, but I still believe it is a work in progress.
Should we consider these incidence as growing pains for these web giants?
Google has better ways to ensure they are charging for accurate clicks. Their algorithm now identifies what is called “Invalid Activity Increase.” When a “bot” or “click farm” was identified to a click, the customer got a refunded. This is a vast improvement for Google.
With almost 90% of the mobile advertising market, Google is leading the way we use advertising on our mobile devices. Early implementation of mobile ads had issues with users clicking ads they didn’t intend to follow. Often times those clicks came from games. After receiving push-back from advertiser’s Google has improved the mobile ad platform as well. By making them harder for mobile users to click on them. Google hopes that improving this feature will make the platform enticing to advertisers. Read more about it here.In the end, it is in Google’s interest to improve the quality of the services provided. They are making money off of glitches and mistakes. However, they are also identifying them. If they want to continue to be a leader in paid advertising they will only get better.
If you have previously tried online advertising and felt you did not get a great value out of it, you may want to reconsider. Today there are more mobile devices than computers, your audience is online, and they are looking at you. Companies like Google and Facebook are getting better at combatting “click fraud” and improving the way advertisers can target specific audiences. With more and more players entering the online advertising game, it is now in their best interest to improve the functionality and results to keep your advertising dollars in their pockets. Mobile ad spending is growing at such a rate that it will soon overtake display advertising to become the second-largest digital advertising channel in the US. That is according to Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s annual Entertainment and Media Outlook study. The numbers are staggering.
Do you want help navigating your options for online advertising? Contact us today and we can help you get started.