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What You Need to Know About Invalid Clicks / Click Fraud?

You might have seen some headlines in the last couple of days claiming that click fraud, or invalid clicks on online ads, is on the rise in Australia. Today, Google Australia explains what they consider invalid/or click fraud:

“We use “invalid clicks” to characterize any clicks that Google doesn’t charge to advertisers because they’ve little or no value. We call these “invalid clicks” instead of “click fraud”, because we’ve no way to judge the intent of the click and whether it’s deliberately fraudulent or just accidental. For e.g., some people habitually “double click” when using a mouse. The second click in a double click isn’t fraudulent, but we still consider it invalid. Regardless of the intent, Google doesn’t charge advertisers for invalid clicks,” explains Google.

Google advises to consider following to know about invalid clicks:

The real number: less than 0.02 percent
Invalid clicks are similar to email spam. The absolute volume of spam that exists on the Web goes up and down, but the only number that matters to you is the volume that appears in your inbox. Similarly, the only number that matters when in comes to invalid clicks is the rate at which it goes undetected. That number is minuscule: less than 0.02%. Put another way, for every ten thousand clicks on Google AdWords ads, fewer than two are reactively detected cases of possible click fraud. And no matter what…you don’t pay for them.

Advertisers don’t pay for invalid clicks
The most important thing to remember is that advertisers don’t pay for invalid clicks. The vast majority of invalid clicks never appear in advertisers’ accounts, and advertisers never pay for these clicks. Google proactively detects and filters invalid clicks so that advertisers never see them. In the relatively rare cases in which advertisers are affected by undetected click fraud, we investigate, mark those clicks as invalid, and refund the advertiser. If you’re an AdWords advertiser, you can see for yourself how many invalid clicks have been proactively filtered from your Google AdWords account.

Google leads the industry in proactive detection
Click fraud protection is something we take very seriously, and it requires a great deal of research and development to do effectively. We believe we lead the industry in our level of investment as well as the effectiveness of our tools. We’ve a three stage-system for invalid click detection: real-time filters, offline analysis, and reactive investigations.

But is the problem of click fraud getting bigger or not?
You should consider the source; those hyping the issue are usually those who’ve the most to gain. It’s true that invalid clicks, like email spam, aren’t a solved problem. We’ve teams of engineers who continue to innovate and invest in this area of our advertising system to stay a step ahead. It’s in the long term interests of Google and the industry to protect advertisers against invalid clicks.

[Source: Google Australia blog]

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