It has been around ever since the dawn of online advertising. But as the practice has matured, so has its implementation. Among the more common types of ad fraud these days is mobile click fraud perpetrated through accidental clicks.
Fraud Blocker has a pretty detailed post on their site explaining how accidental clicks work and how they can be prevented. It is worth reading if you advertise on mobile platforms. Just by implementing some of the tricks of the trade Fraud Blocker recommends, you could drastically improve your mobile ad performance.
While you consider that, we will move on to discussing how accidental clicks could be killing your mobile ad spend. And if they are, it’s time to do something about them. Accepting accidental clicks as a normal part of mobile advertising is to willingly throw money away.
How the Scam Works
Accidental clicks are a form of mobile ad fraud that take advantage of small screens, big fingers, and inpatient users. An accidental click is just what its name implies: a click or tap on a mobile ad deemed unintentional. The clicks can even be intentional but generated in such a way as to make them look unintentional.
Truth be told, you have probably unintentionally generated accidental clicks yourself. Think about it. Have you ever attempted to tap a link on a mobile website only to accidentally tap the ad next to it? Sure you have. You may have even attempted to tap an element inside a mobile app but mistakenly hit an ad instead.
Fraudulent publishers looking to take advantage of these types of clicks employ a variety of strategies for doing so. They might:
- purposely place hard-to-see ads very close to locations they know users are likely to tap
- create tiny ads that can’t be seen but can still be tapped as users scroll up and down
- stack tiny ads so that clicking on one will click on all the ads in the stack.
Fraudsters will even create automated bots designed to bring up mobile websites, quickly click their ads, and then move on. Click bot activities can be a bit more difficult to distinguish from legitimate traffic on a mobile site, especially if a fraudster knows how to cover his tracks.
Accidental Clicks Cost Money
Even if you do not understand the technical stuff behind accidental clicks, you should be able to understand that they cost money. You know the drill with mobile advertising. Every click, tap, or impression means you are charged at your per-click rate. An ad for which you pay $0.25 per click will rack up a bill of $250 for every 1,000 clicks. But what if half of those clicks are accidental?
A 50% accidental click rate is not uncommon. In fact, it is pretty standard. So if you advertise on mobile platforms and sites, it’s entirely possible that up to half of your clicks aren’t real. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, they are accidental. Not only that, but they are also devastating your mobile ad spend.
Remember that none of those clicks are likely to lead to a sale. In fact, they aren’t even likely to lead to a legitimate user visiting your site and spending some time looking around. It’s click and they are gone. That’s it. So you are spending money and getting literally nothing in return.
Accidental clicks are not something to be ignored. If you don’t know how to stop them, get hooked up with a mobile ad fraud protection service or invest in a good software package.