One of the reservations I’ve heard some lawyers express about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is that you don’t know who is clicking on your ads. If you’re paying $85 for someone to click on your mesothelioma ad to visit your site, is that person a mesothelioma victim or a competitor? Now comes a study from U.S. based Click Forensics that says the average click fraud rate of PPC advertisements appearing on search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 28.2%, up from 27.1% in the previous quarter. See article here.
Note that this figure applies to the “content” networks, such as ads that appear on blogs and news sites using Google’s AdSense program. There is a built-in incentive for the publishers of the sites to engage in fraudulent clicking, as they share in the revenues from each click. The article does not give an estimate of the number of fraudulent clicks on Google’s and Yahoo!’s search engines.
One user of PPC ads suggests that you factor the fraud rate into your calculations. Tony Jewell , chief technical officer of job search engine Workcircle, advises factoring in a degree of risk and focusing on return on investment. “If 20% of clicks are invalid, are the other 80% good enough for it not to matter?” he said. “If the traffic sends customers who convert, and hence is profitable, then we’re happy.”