Invalid clicks in Google Ads can be a major concern for Paid Search advertisers, they lead to wasted ad spend and negatively impact campaign performance. Invalid clicks are clicks on ads that are generated by automated systems or by people who are intentionally clicking on ads with no interest in the product or service being advertised.

Google has put measures in place to detect and filter out invalid clicks, but it’s important for advertisers to monitor their campaigns and report any suspicious activity to Google. Advertisers can also take steps to prevent invalid clicks, such as setting up IP exclusions to block traffic from certain locations or using click tracking software to monitor click activity.

Overall, it’s important for advertisers to be aware of the potential for invalid clicks in their Google Ads campaigns and take steps to prevent and report them. By doing so, they can ensure that their ad spend is being used effectively and that their campaigns are performing at their best.

Understanding Invalid Clicks in Google Ads

Invalid clicks are clicks on Google Ads that are not genuine or intentional. These clicks can be accidental, fraudulent, or malicious, and they can negatively impact the performance of your ads and waste your advertising budget. In this section, we will explain what invalid clicks are, how they affect your ads, and what you can do to prevent them.

What are Invalid Clicks?

Invalid clicks are clicks on your ads that Google considers to be invalid or suspicious. These clicks can come from various sources, such as bots, click farms, competitors, or users who accidentally click on your ads. Invalid clicks can artificially inflate your click-through rate (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC), and reduce the conversion rate and return on investment (ROI) of your ads.

Impact of Invalid Clicks in Google Ads

Invalid clicks can have a significant impact on the performance of your Google Ads campaign, they refer to any clicks that are not generated by genuine users, such as clicks from bots, click farms, or competitors trying to exhaust your advertising budget.

Invalid clicks can result in several negative consequences, including:

  • Wasted budget: Invalid clicks can quickly exhaust your advertising budget, leaving you with little to no return on investment.
  • Decreased ad performance: Clicks from bots or click farms do not result in genuine engagement with your ad, which can negatively impact your CTR and in turn, quality score, ad rank and CPC. Not to mention conversion rate.

To mitigate the impact of invalid clicks on your Google Ads campaign, we recommend regularly monitoring your ad performance metrics and implementing the following strategies:

  • Blocking suspicious IP addresses: You can block IP addresses that crop up repeatedly and are known to generate invalid clicks. This can be done in your Google Ads account settings.
  • Using click fraud detection software: There are several click fraud detection software options available that can help you identify and block invalid clicks.
  • Limiting your ad exposure: If you’re able to determine the origin of the invalid clicks, limiting your ad exposure to certain regions or devices can help reduce the likelihood of invalid clicks.

By taking these measures, you can help ensure that your Google Ads campaign is generating genuine engagement and driving meaningful results.

How Google Ads Detects Invalid Clicks

Automated Detection

Google use a range of automated systems to detect invalid clicks in Google Ads. These systems use advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify any clicks that may be fraudulent or invalid.

One of the key ways they detect invalid clicks is by looking for patterns of activity that suggest a click may not be genuine. For example, if they see a sudden spike in clicks from a particular IP address, or if they notice that a large number of clicks are coming from the same device or browser, they may flag these clicks as potentially invalid.

Google also use a range of other signals to detect invalid clicks, such as the time of day, the location of the user, and the type of device they are using. By analysing all of these different signals together, Google are able to build a comprehensive picture of what constitutes a valid click, and what may be fraudulent or invalid.

Manual Analysis

In addition to their automated systems, Google also have a team of experts who manually analyse clicks to determine whether they are valid or not. This team includes engineers, data scientists, and fraud specialists, who work together to investigate any suspicious activity that our automated systems may have flagged.

When they detect a potentially invalid click, their team will conduct a detailed investigation to determine whether the click was genuine or not. This may involve looking at a range of different data points, such as the user’s browsing history, their location, and the type of device they are using.

If it’s determine that a click is indeed invalid, they will take action to ensure that the advertiser is not charged for that click. This may involve issuing a refund, or adjusting the advertiser’s account to reflect the invalid click.

Automated systems and manual analysis work together to ensure that advertisers are protected from invalid clicks, and that they only pay for genuine clicks that are likely to result in valuable conversions for their business.

Best Practices to Minimise Invalid Clicks in Google Ads

To minimise invalid clicks, we recommend the following best practices:

1. Use Click Fraud Protection Software

Although Google provides built in click fraud protection, invalid clicks can still slip through, we recommend using a dedicated click fraud protection solution such as ClickCease. Though these present an additional cost, they will most likely cover their own cost in saved budget when invalid clicks are filtered out.

2. Monitor Campaign Performance Regularly

Regularly monitoring campaign performance can help identify any unusual activity, such as a sudden spike in clicks or click-through rate. This can be a sign of invalid clicks and should be investigated further.

3. Exclude Irrelevant Placements

Excluding suspicious or rogue placements can help prevent invalid clicks from bots or click farms. We recommend reviewing the placements report regularly.

Final Thoughts

Invalid clicks can be a frustrating problem for advertisers in Google Ads. However, by taking necessary steps to prevent and detect invalid clicks, advertisers can minimise their impact on campaigns.

We recommend that advertisers regularly review their campaigns for any suspicious activity, such as a sudden spike in clicks or a high number of clicks from a single IP address. Advertisers can also use Google’s invalid click reports and implement click fraud protection tools to help detect and prevent invalid clicks.

It’s important to note that while Google takes measures to prevent invalid clicks, no system is fool proof. Advertisers should remain vigilant and take action if they suspect invalid activity is affecting their campaigns. If you need assistance on how best to address invalid clicks in Google Ads, get in touch with our expert team.