Click Fraud (PPC Fraud)

Pay Per Click Fraud

is the biggest form of online ad fraud


What is Click Fraud?

Click fraud is when bots, malware, or a human fraudster intentionally generates a bogus click on paid ads and links to steal money from pay-per-click advertisers or to exhaust an advertisers’ campaign budget.  

It is the biggest form of online advertising fraud to affect both small and large advertisers. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on PPC advertising; you are a victim of click fraud. Some industries are affected more than others depending on traffic quantity and cost per click

Eliminate Click Fraud

Types of Click Fraud


Search Fraud

Search fraud is when fraudsters click on paid ads or paid search results on search engines like Google and Bing. This is often known as pay per click (PPC) fraud. 



Affiliate Fraud

Affiliate click fraud occurs when a bad affiliate drives traffic for a particular campaign knowing they are going to get paid every time a click takes place.


Social/Influencer Fraud


On sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Twitter, and YouTube, there are other ways that fraudsters can earn revenue. These networks pay partners to generate traffic, fake profiles are used to earn money indirectly. Advertising on social networks allows fake influencers to comment, like, and influence consumers to trust a brand.  


Competitor Fraud


Sometimes, companies hire click farms or human fraud farms to sabotage their competitor’s digital ad campaigns. These farms click-through ads to eat up the competing advertiser’s budget. This PPC advertising scam allows fraudsters to run their own ads virtually unopposed even when they’re targeting extremely expensive keywords.

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Signs of Click Fraud

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  • Faster than normal depletion of PPC ad campaign budgets
  • Driving in loads of traffic but seeing little to no conversions
  • Seeing strange visitor behavior, like clicking on the privacy policy on your website
  • Clients complaining about traffic quality to their web campaigns
  • Increase in your credit card chargebacks
  • Higher rates of abandoned shopping carts

Eliminate Click Fraud


Zombie Botnet

Zombie botnets are often used in click fraud schemes. Here, the horde of zombie bots operates in the background, clicking on ads to drive up clicks for pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

Stop Bot Traffic


Click Bots

Click bots will generate a click on an ad or webpage to give the appearance that an interaction is occurring. However, there is no real person behind the click—so there’s no opportunity to generate revenue.

Bots are also used to artificially inflate engagement with social media posts and channels. On social media, bots can be used to not only generate clicks but to add fake posts and likes/thumbs-ups on other posts to make a channel look like it has a larger and more active following than it really does.

Bot Detector

Negative Effects of Click Fraud

Wasted Ad Spend

Fraudulent clicks can quickly drain your ad budget without providing any real return on investment (since the clicks are coming from fraudulent sources that won’t convert into real customers).

Distorted Marketing Results Data

Fraudulent clicks will distort your data causing you to optimize your marketing campaigns on data that will produce little to no conversions by targeting the wrong keywords or audience.

Influencer Fraud Issues

One of the major problems with getting fake likes from a fraudster’s click farm is that it skews your marketing data. The like button is a key tool in building user profiles. Social networks can map out a person’s demographic and psychographic info based on what pages and posts they like. This is a huge asset as you can easily drill into your audience stats.

However, if half the audience is built on fake likes, that data won’t be accurate. This means that social networks may start trying to put your content in front of an unsuitable audience.

Daily limit reached

If an advertiser has placed a daily limit on clicks with a PPC ad, click fraud can cause that limit to be reached very quickly allowing the competitor’s ads being shown instead.


Why are Click Farms hard to stop?

They Use Real People

With real people behind the screen, fraudulent activity will look more realistic and evade bot detectors like CAPTCHA.

Classic Anti-Bot Tricks Don't Work on Humans

There are a few tools and tricks that can thwart a simple bot program that will barely even slow down a human-based click fraud operation.

Click Farms in Foreign Territories Aren't Subject to U.S. Regulations

Click farms aren’t technically illegal in most of the countries where they operate. Despite certain countries, such as China, Indonesia, and Russia deeming click farms illegal, they don’t have extradition treaties with the U.S. Therefore, making it incredibly hard to put a stop to fraud farms through official channels.

They Utilize Many Different Devices

Fraudsters can use a number and variety of devices combined with IP Spoofing and device spoofing techniques, making it incredibly difficult to identify the traffic coming from a single source.

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Search and Social Protect

One of the best ways to stop click fraud is to use an ad fraud solution. Anura analyzes hundreds of data points in real-time to sort out the bots, malware, and human fraud (click farms) from genuine visitors.

When Anura marks a visitor as fraudulent, our Search and Social Protect automatically hides your ads from being shown to fraudulent visitors on platforms like Google, Microsoft Ads, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. There’s no need to apply for refunds with our technology.


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Need help? Check out our Resources 

Our resources section includes blogs, case studies, documentation, and more —all designed to help you succeed.

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