Do I need to be worried about click fraud?

Click fraud happens all the time, but you don’t need to worry, here’s why: 90 second video


Paid search advertising vendors have a vested interest in limiting click fraud because if click fraud were to be significant and recognized they would quickly go out of business. Fortunately, this motivates major search engines to police it well and this should help you sleep at night.


Hi, I’m Brian O’Grady from Search Warrant Online Marketing, your boutique digital marketing firm. If you’ve questions about paid search advertising, we’ve got answers. Here comes our video blog series for people just like you.

So, click fraud is a really common question and it is an issue in the industry. But when it comes to paid search advertising, it’s not nearly as big an issue as people think it is.

Here’s what I mean by that: Click fraud does occur, and what is click fraud? It’s when robots or programs or big groups of people with actually no legitimate interest in what you have to say or your web experience or what you sell, for example. They’re just ensuring that some money rolls into their bank account from the ad clicks.

As an advertiser, you could be thinking that, “what if my ad budget is being consumed entirely that way and I’m going to get no results? I’m being ripped off, I should get out of this digital advertising racket all together.”

So, it does happen, but here’s why it’s not as big a deal as you might think it is. The search engines have vested interest in catching it, policing it and stopping it. Even a greater interest than you do, because if it gets known that they have a click fraud problem, they’re going to be out of business.

So, as a result, they police it pretty heavily – and you don’t even realize it’s happening. If you take a look in some of your search engine interfaces for a metric called “invalid clicks”, you’ll actually see how many they’ve caught and refunded to you without you being aware. And then that money ends up right back in the system.

There are networks out there, particularly some display networks, that have large click fraud problems, but fortunately for you, if you’re into paid search advertising, it’s one of the better-policed areas and the major engines catch most or all of the click fraud.