The Cost of Click Bots and Fake Traffic to Online Advertisers

The Cost of Click Bots and Fake Traffic to Online Advertisers

Clickbots and fake traffic are practices that have been used for years to cheat the system and steal money from online advertisers.

This is a growing trend that has been getting more sophisticated every year. According to the University of Baltimore, this fraud cost around $35 billion in 2020.

This article will discuss how click and traffic bots work, the main types, and how marketers can reduce damage.

What is PPC fraud?

Advertisers pay-per-click (PPC) for each click they make on their ad campaigns.

They can advertise their products and services through various websites, including YouTube Social Networks or Google Ads Display Networks. They can also place their website at the top of the SERPs.

This is a major problem because pay-per-click can be evaded. Fake users can account for as much as 40%, which is a pretty scary statistic!

Let's now see the main reasons behind this fraud:

Publisher and Affiliate Fraud

This fraud is very common. Bloggers and affiliates can use this method to circumvent the system by creating false clicks on ads on their websites.

This is the logic:

The blog owner registers with Google AdSense. He then releases space on his site for advertisers to advertise their products and services. They will be paid 68% of the advertiser's click-through fee for each click on an ad banner.

Bots are employed to pretend they are real people clicking on the ads, or people are hired to perform these clicks continuously.

Fraud by Competitors

This unethical fraud aims to increase the ad spend of your competitors (especially on search networks) and make them as little as possible. This can cause your ads to be irrelevant and less effective.


You could have someone clicking on your ads to drain your budget, just like the scammers who your competitors perpetrate. This could be a former employee, ex-partner, or dissatisfied client.

Top Sources of Fake Clicks


Click bots are software that is programmed to click links on various websites. They have imitated various actions that real users would perform, including mouse movements and variations in time between clicks.

Click farms

Click farms can be automated or manually set up by humans to generate clicks for specific links. They often have a network that clicks or takes specific actions and gets paid.

These people aren't just for ads. Many companies employ them to increase engagement on social networks, view videos on YouTube and other websites, comment on publications, and many other actions.


Criminals can build an ad fraud network with thousands of IPs, domains, and automated bots. Methbot was the most well-known, with over 500,000 IPs, over 6,000 domains, and over 250,000 URLs. Each featured a video advertisement and used famous domain names to fool users.

Methbot is believed to have earned between 3 million and 5 million USD daily.

How can you protect your ads against PPC fraud?

It is impossible to avoid this problem completely, but it is possible to reduce your losses.

These are the main methods to accomplish this:

Honeypots: Through Honeypots, the ad servers use fake advertisements as bait to detect the Bot and expose it. This causes the IP to be blocked.

An exclusion list: Having an exclusion list can help you block clicks from your ads. You can add IP addresses, website IDs and device IDs to your exclusion list if you feel they are suspicious.

Targeting: Tighten your ads so that you don't target common areas known to generate false clicks.

Indicator analysis Severe: Changes in your ad indicator can indicate a problem. You should be suspicious of sudden increases in click-throughs, traffic spikes and increases in bounce rates.

Have you experienced issues with click fraud?

Are previously mentioned, click fraud is not new. While Google has increased restrictions, criminals have developed new ways to defraud systems.

Google is limited by privacy policies and cannot accurately determine what browsers are sending. But one thing is certain: this type of fraud is possible regardless of how large your market or budget is.

Advertisers must be aware of the problem and monitor their indicators. They should also charge Google and other platforms for evolving and blocking this online behaviour.

Investing in companies that do not restrict themselves to using paid strategies within their businesses is also important.

Reach out to EWM today to state-of-the-art online advertising solutions. 



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