Competition in business is typically healthy, but there are other times when it’s neither healthy nor fair. One such case is competitor pay-per-click (PPC) click fraud. Unfortunately, this is a growing trend, especially in high-value and competitive industries. It happens when a rival business clicks on your paid ads with the goal of depleting your PPC ad budget.
How Various Sectors are Affected by Pay Per Click Click Fraud
Unfortunately, click fraud is at an all-time high and still growing. It’s worse in some industries than it is in others. Nevertheless, it’s important to recognize how your competition may try to sabotage you, especially if you’re in one of the following sectors.
On-Demand Repair Specialists
These industries (e.g., pest control specialists, locksmiths, HVAC, plumbers) are amongst the hardest hit by PPC click fraud. Their ads are clicked around 10 times each day without any accompanying call for service. Some competitors will even go so far as to drive around (usually during the peak hours of 10 AM-noon) looking for tradesmen and then clicking on their pay-per-click ads numerous times. This can result in $500 of ad spend per day, sometimes more depending on the cost of keywords. For instance, there are times when it’ll cost $50 per click, which means that a specialist’s budget may be depleted in just 10 clicks. Such losses really add up fast.
Ecommerce and Gambling
These are two of the other hardest hit industries when it comes to PPC fraud. Typically the cost of their keywords isn’t as high (around 10 cents) as what on-demand repair specialists pay; therefore, bots are used to commit the “crime” here. Cybercriminals program automated browsers to do specific tasks (e.g., to cause ad impressions to load by hitting web pages, then, once loaded, having humans click on them). Unfortunately, such tactics cause a great expense for businesses – usually over $3.8 billion per year.
Whether you’re an attorney working for a law firm or a realtor working for a real estate firm, you’re also a target of pay-per-click click fraud. This is especially true if there’s been news about you landing a major real estate listing or a big-ticket client. Your competition will demonstrate their sharp elbows by sabotaging your ads.
While the rate of fraud was already high in this industry before COVID hit, the rates have risen even higher following the pandemic. This has had a major impact on many firms. Many PPC managers have discovered substantial fraudulent activities that would have resulted in significant financial losses and poor campaign performance if they hadn’t been caught in time.
It isn’t uncommon for realtors who are seeking a high-priced commission to engage in such practices. Typically this number has risen substantially (around 44%) today. This was caused by the fierce competition for low numbers of listing opportunities that COVID brought about. All you have to do is look at the real estate market, and you’ll find that there aren’t many homes for sale in the US. Today, the number of homes that are available is down nearly 20% compared to what it was this time last year.
Lest you think that only consumers click fraud occurs, you should take a look at the highly competitive B2B software vendors. These businesses are seeing pay-per-click click fraud rates of around 9% today. Many of these company owners will tell you that they’ve had this happen to them a lot. This is because their competitors will spend time continually clicking on their competition’s paid ads. Sometimes this only happens occasionally, but when the keywords are expensive (around $13 – $19 per click), it adds up quickly, especially if the competitor is using hundreds of devices to do this. Unfortunately, this is something that also happens frequently.
How to Stop Competitor PPC Click Fraud
When you suspect that there’s pay-per-click click fraud occurring because your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads aren’t performing how they should, contact us at the Local SEO Tampa Company in Tampa, FL. We’ll look into any strange activity and help you with all of your other search engine needs, too, so contact us today.