New research has revealed which businesses are most at risk from click fraud – the malicious targeting of online ads by competitors.
Locksmiths, cleaning companies and investments organisations are most likely to be targeted by “bandits” committing click fraud, Click Guardian has found.
Small businesses, the click fraud prevention service said, are wasting thousands of pounds a month on pay-per-click ads that are rendered useful by “spiteful competitors”.
Roy Dovaston, manning director at Click Guardian, said: “It’s a jungle out there and with cut-throat competition comes some pretty sharp tactics.
“It’s incredible how much advertising spend click fraudsters can eat through, and the more mainstream the search items, the quicker a marketing budget can be sent down the drain.”
Here are the ten businesses types most at risk from click fraud
|Trade||Percentage of clicks that are fraudulent||Average cost per click|
|Locksmith||40 per cent||£7|
|Cleaning companies||25 per cent||£3.50|
|Investments||16 per cent||£7.50|
|Security||16 per cent||£3.50|
|Phone repairs||15 per cent||£3.50|
|Pest control||14 per cent||£7|
|Windows/doors/conservatories||14 per cent||£5|
|Wrong fuel||13 per cent||£7|
|Glazing||13 per cent||£5|
|Man and van||12 per cent||£3.50|
There are a number of ways to prevent click fraud, including setting different bid prices for content-targeted sites, keeping an eye on competitors and tracking ad campaigns in real time. Small businesses can also specifically target high-value sites for ads, steering clear of low-quality sites where “click bandits” most commonly reside, and purchase software designed to generate special referral reports.
Dovaston added: “The real concern is how much this is costing businesses, and especially those that can ill-afford to see a marketing budget squandered in the first place.
“It’s crucial businesses use real-time prevention systems that can track and block imposters so real customers get to see paid ads.”
Click Guardian suggests around £2,000 worth of adverts posted by locksmiths are disappearing each month before customers have the chance to see them. For cleaning companies, security firms and phone repair businesses, each burn a quarter of monthly marketing budgets on adverts never seen by potential customers.
Business Advice unpicks one of the growing threats to small companies, asking what is CEO fraud, before consulting two experts on the typical tactics employed by scammers and how owners can protect their firm.
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