What is Click Spam
Click Spam, also referred to as organic poaching or click flooding, is a type of ad fraud where individuals generate fake clicks for non-existent users. Fraudsters usually use mobile apps or websites to generate this particular ad fraud.
These clicks often take over genuine user behavior. They usually run in the background with the users being completely unaware of it.
How does it work
A user can download any app which, if used by a fraudster, will have in-built features that run in the background. Once the user downloads this app, the app has a code built within it that creates multiple clicks on ads. It also allows an external device to use your device to generate clicks.
These ad clicks ultimately benefit the fraudster who will get the payout if there is an in-app purchase or an ad click. It also takes the data they acquire through these clicks without the app user's knowledge. This could mean an invasion of the user's data privacy.
Types of Click Spam
Click spam falls under the wide umbrella of ad fraud. It can occur in various forms. They are as follows:
- Click fraud: Hosting banners and text ads on inauthentic websites to get fake clicks to gain revenue.
- Incentivized traffic: Enticing users with viewing ads in exchange for in-game rewards which may or may not be delivered.
- Click fraud bots: Using bots to automate the process of clicking on ads to generate numerous bot traffic that in turn results in fake clicks.
- Click farms: This is when firms hire a set of people to click on ads.
- Competitor click abuse: When a competitor of an ad service clicks on ads to drive up their competition's advertising costs.
- Location fraud: A technique that uses a VPN to keep changing their geographic location to avoid detection.
Problems that can occur
- By capturing organic traffic without the user's knowledge, click spam brands the traffic and reaps the monetary rewards for those clicks.
- This fraudulent method manipulates valuable data and affects the decision-making of marketers and renders these numbers unreliable.
- This kind of spamming also poses a threat to data security since it takes valuable data for its benefit.
- It also causes organizations to incur massive CPC losses since the clicks are made by an invalid user who will never convert.
- Finally, the actual user, whose account is misused for the clicks will have their account flagged as malicious and their overall internet experience could be affected.
How to detect and stop Click Spam
To identify Click Spam, there are certain activities one needs to watch out for. They are as follows.
- A sudden influx of multiple clicks coming from a single IP address
- High click-through rates with low conversion
- A large number of impressions but zero to no page views
One could follow these steps to ensure their domain is safe:
- Once you witness a spike in impressions or clicks without tangible results, investigate further. Try to track the IP address and heat maps and look for any unusual behavior.
- Use blockers that can detect malicious activity and block any bad traffic automatically.
- Use click-tracking software to track unique and total clicks.
- Setting different prices for ads on different websites will help curb financial risks.