Whenever I hear the term Click Farm I cannot help but imagine a long line of greedy, evil hens peering over the tops of custom-made laptops with hatred in their eyes as they sit and repetitively click on PPC adverts until budgets slowly run dry. Over years of gradual, painstaking conditioning, these hens have grown to gigantic proportions having learnt to associate the death of each PPC campaign with a single food pellet.
Ok, so I may have read far too much on Pavlov and my imagination may be slightly over active, however, whilst click farms are not controlled by evil, obese hens, they do present a threat to poorly monitored PPC campaigns nonetheless, and are something that all advertisers using Adwords should be aware of.
What exactly are click farms?
Click farms simply consist of large groups of under paid individuals employed to sit and click on paid adverts all day. Since such clicks are not performed by genuine customers, budgets are completely wasted by these individuals who have no interest in the product or service and consequently proceed to click straight off of the landing page. Ultimately, then, the objective of a click farm is to waste the time and money of advertisers. In doing this, they fraudulently enhance the performance of other paid advertising campaigns. Think of the CEO of your biggest competitor sitting and clicking on and off your PPC ads continually until there is no budget left for them to run. The money spent would be a complete waste and the competitor’s site would have the advantage of one less business to bid against on precious keywords, noooooo!
Should you be worried about click farms?
In short the answer is no. Whilst it is important to be aware of this type of activity, over recent years, Google have developed skilled detection tools which consistently scan Adwords for click fraud. If Google suspects the account to be a victim of fraudulent activity, you will be made aware and reimbursed for any revenue lost.
Is there anything you can do to prevent click fraud?
You cannot actively stop someone from clicking on and off your ads, however, by monitoring and managing your PPC account closely, you will be able to determine unusual patterns of activity indicative of click fraud allowing you to nip it in the bud at the earliest opportunity. For example, you may notice that the account seems to be getting an unusually high number of clicks from one or two particular keywords that historically have not performed so well. As a result you may want to temporarily pause the ads related to these keywords in order to test whether your daily budget lasts longer. If indeed it does, this would indicate fraudulent activity on the account meaning you could stop the ads, notify Google and make life harder for those crazy, pampered hens!