Skip to content
Ad Fraud Calculator Calculate Your Loss
Have Questions? 888-337-0641
3 min read

What Is Click Fraud?

Featured Image

Fighting click fraud requires a team effort. Here’s how publishers can be the MVPs in battling this ad fraud scheme.

Ad fraud isn’t new. In fact, ad fraud has been around almost as long as digital advertising. And, unfortunately, it continues to cost advertisers billions of dollars each year. Much of that loss stems from online programmatic advertising. The Association of National Advertisers recently released a “First Look” of the organization’s Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study and found that as much as $20 billion was wasted last year. 

There are a number of factors that contribute to ad fraud, but perhaps the most common is click fraud. While click fraud obviously impacts advertisers, it also affects publishers by putting their reputations and revenue at risk. Click fraud can be hard to detect, but publishers can combat it effectively by implementing actionable strategies. 

All Clicks, No Conversions? Try Anura to Stop Click Fraud. 

Click Fraud 101 - Understanding the Threat

You can’t fight something you don’t understand, so let’s start with understanding the click fraud definition. Click fraud is a broad term that refers to the deliberate generation of fake ad clicks to give the impression that ads are working.

Click fraud bots may be the first thing to come to mind when you think of click fraud, but human click farms are also a real thing and a real threat. Unscrupulous publishers hire human click farms—or human fraud farms as we like to call them—to increase the number of clicks to boost their own revenue or debase other publishers’ sites in an effort to reduce competition by having those removed from advertising platforms.

Click ad fraud wastes advertisers’ budgets, increases costs per click, and can sabotage campaigns. If it’s happening on the ads on your site, and chances are good that it is, it poses a potential threat to you as the publisher, and you may end up bearing the brunt of the click fraud.

How much are you losing to fraud?  Try our ad fraud calculator now!

Why Should Publishers Care About Click Fraud?

We often think advertisers have the most to lose to click fraud; after all, it’s their budgets that are wasted. But publishers rely on paid subscriptions and advertising to generate revenue. Paid subscriptions are going up while advertising revenue is going down. 

Left unchecked, click fraud methods can cause an even greater decline in ad revenue. As advertisers continue to pay for clicks that don’t lead to sales, their trust erodes, and they stop advertising with you. 

Related Blog: Why Aren't There Laws to Stop Ad Fraud?

Combatting Click Fraud

Publishers should take proactive steps to protect themselves and their advertisers; it protects their own revenue stream while ensuring their advertisers see positive results from their campaigns.  

  • Monitor traffic sources
    Publishers can detect a click fraud attack by monitoring traffic sources on a routine basis. Monitoring allows publishers to detect click fraud and explore ways to prevent it. 
  • Collaborate and communicate
    Fighting click fraud is a team effort. Everyone who is or could potentially be affected by it has to work together to combat it. Publishers should communicate with ad networks and advertisers when suspicious activity is detected. This is key to helping prevent future click fraud and wasted advertising dollars. It will also build goodwill with your partners who will appreciate that you’re looking out for their best interests as well as your own. 
  • Bring click fraud detection into the mix
    The more partners you have in the fight against click fraud, the more likely you are to win. Ad fraud detection solutions can help publishers spot erratic changes in traffic, identify invalid traffic sources, and detect whether click fraud is coming from bots or humans. More importantly, identifying these patterns can help block fraudulent activities and stop click fraud. Just as one party can’t fight click fraud alone, your ad fraud detection solution should leverage more than one data point to effectively analyze click patterns, detect anomalies, and block suspicious traffic sources.

The Click Fraud Battle Never Ends

Ad fraud detection and prevention is not a “set it and forget it” solution. It’s important to collaborate and communicate with your ad fraud solution partner on a regular basis. Compare the reports you’re getting from them to your own and ask about any discrepancies. Preventing click fraud is like an endless game of whack-a-mole—fraudsters keep popping up with new ways to commit fraud, and you and your partners must work together to tamp down their ongoing efforts.

Anura Partners with Publishers to Prevent Click Fraud

The flip side to advertisers paying for fraudulent leads is losing opportunities due to legitimate leads being flagged as fraudulent. Anura’s click fraud software helps clients with both issues.

Our Clients Love Our Data

One of our longtime clients first approached Anura when they became concerned about potential fraud on their publication sites. The company relies on advertising revenue and the ability to provide accurate data and analytics for several industries that rely on the information to meet their sales goals and other business needs like hiring.

There were no obvious fraud issues, and conversion rates appeared normal, so it would have been easy to maintain business as usual. Still, they wanted to be sure and get ahead of any issues, so they looked to ad fraud companies for guidance. 

False Positives

Their main concern was false positives: legitimate clicks or leads that are wrongly flagged as fraudulent, meaning advertisers miss out on sales and recruiting efforts fall short when job applicants are rejected. By tracing and comparing leads, the company eventually confirmed Anura’s reporting noted No False PositivesTM compared to another fraud detection solution.  

Read our case study to learn how Anura helped this client improve service and return on ad spend for their customers.

Click Fraud is Damaging

Left unchecked, click fraud can impact publishers’ revenue, reputation, and credibility. Anura works with publishers and lead generators to detect and stop click fraud and maximize campaign performance with the best ad fraud software.

Find out for yourself how a responsive ad fraud protection partner works with you to identify issues and provide the information you need when you need it. If you want ad fraud detection that actually works for you and your customers, talk to us today!

New call-to-action