Using Statcounter

Detect Click Fraud

Detect fraudulent clicks on your ads and claim refunds from your ad networks to see a better return on your digital advertising spend.

What is click fraud?

Click fraud occurs when an individual or an internet bot makes repeated clicks on your pay-per-click adverts to generate fraudulent charges for you, the advertiser. The intention behind this activity is to increase your advertising costs, lower your conversion rate and ultimately make it more difficult for you to see a return on your digital advertising spend.

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) estimates that ad fraud will cost advertisers in excess of $50 billion by 2025.

The perpetrators of click fraud on ads published by small and medium sized businesses are mostly from competitors trying to use up your advertising budget and to a lesser degree from disgruntled customers with an axe to grind. Since it's not in the interest of the ad networks to highlight this problem and lose revenue, you are mostly left to your own devices to detect and report evidence of fraudulent clicks and make a case for reimbursement.

What's the solution?

Fortunately, Statcounter has a number of tools that can help you detect and provide evidence of click fraud, helping you to decrease your digital advertising spend and increase your pay-per-click conversion rate. In this guide we'll outline the steps you need to take.

Paid Traffic Report

The Paid traffic report in Statcounter displays the number of paid clicks per IP address and additionally, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and Average Visit Time for each IP Address. From this information you can detect click fraud in a few simple steps.

  1. While logged in to Statcounter, visit your Projects page and select the relevant project.
  2. Select Reports from the left navigation sidebar.
  3. In the Paid Traffic widget, select View Report.
  4. Look for IP addresses with more than a couple of ad clicks.*

* In some circumstances, multiple ad clicks from a single IP address can be genuine. For example, if you have a high volume of customers from the same organisation or from the same part of the country.

Visit Lengths Report

Unusually short visits to your website can be an early warning sign of invalid ad click activity. Visit lengths of under 5 seconds are clear to see on the Visit Lengths report.

  1. While logged in to Statcounter, visit your Projects page and select the relevant project.
  2. Select Reports from the left navigation sidebar.
  3. In the Engagement widget, select Visit Lengths and check for a high number of visits under 5 seconds.
  4. Select View Report.
  5. In the Visit Length table, on the top row for 'Less than 5 secs', select the number in the Page Views column on the right.
  6. You can then filter these visits by paid traffic.

Visitor Locations Report

A high number of clicks from unexpected countries, cities or ISPs can point to suspicious activity.

  1. Select Reports from the left navigation sidebar.
  2. In the Locations Widget, check the Country, State/Region, City and ISP tabs for high numbers of clicks from locations that wouldn't normally fall into your visitor demographic.
  3. Use these insights to restrict where your ads are being shown in the admin section of your ad network (i.e. Facebook Ad Manager, Google Ads).

Label Suspicious IP Addresses

Visitor Labels enable you to add descriptive information about your visitors to help you track them as they visit, leave, and return to your site. You can use Labels to store notes, business names, customer IDs, and more. Labels are also a great way to tag an IP address you suspect is generating invalid clicks on your ads. You can then filter your reports to only show traffic from an individual labeled visitor.

Set Visitor Alerts

Once you have identified and labelled a visitor you suspect as a click fraudster, you can set Statcounter to alert you via email or mobile notification each time they return to your website.

See our guide to adding visitor labels and alerts in Statcounter.

Submit the evidence

Now that you have evidence of invalid ad click activity, you can use the Export tool in any of your Statcounter reports to save a CSV file of your findings. This CSV file can be opened in any spreadsheet application for further analysis and editing before sending to your ad networks for reimbursement.

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