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How to Exclude Bot Traffic from your PPC Display Ad Campaigns

We all want to protect ourselves from online fraud, but did you know that pay-per-click advertising can be highly susceptible to hacking?

Click fraud and bot traffic in Google Ads are very common, unfortunately. Display ads in particular can attract fraudulent website placements, designed to stealthily drain PPC advertising budgets from unwitting advertisers.

The Definitive Google Search Ad Optimisation Cheatsheet

PPC Click Fraud and Bot Traffic

So how can you protect your display campaigns from this kind of damaging intrusion and block bots from your ads? This is becoming a common question, particularly as online advertising is now a hugely popular way for companies to promote their products and services to the public. In fact, global digital ad spending is expected to exceed over $245 billion by 2024 (Statista).

Millions of companies now use online ads to effectively connect with potential and current customers. If you are one of them, how can you avoid becoming the victim of damaging bot traffic? Firstly you need to ask the question what is click fraud and understand how it could significantly drain your online advertising budget if you detect bot traffic.  

Help to Stop Bot Traffic 

The good news is that Digital Media Stream can help, because we are pay-per-click experts we can show you how to fight PPC fraud in just a few easy steps. We will outline some simple ways to detect and eliminate fraudulent activity on your online advertising account, showing you step-by-step how to stop bot traffic

As part of a series of tips on click fraud detection, today we want to show you just how to find the sites that are responsible for most of the click fraud in Google Display Network campaigns. We’ll also share with you a clever trick to exclude all fraudulent app placements, in just a few simple clicks!

To protect your display ads against click fraud and unwanted traffic bots, you need to exclude irrelevant placements, such as fake sites or apps, from your pay-per-click campaign. By doing this you will be eliminating click fraud in Google Ads and can ensure that you are spending your money on genuine clicks, that are actually real and are going to be relevant to your business. 

Finding the Click Fraud in your Google Display Campaigns

To find the click fraud in your Google Advertising campaigns and eliminate it, you need to go to: “Display Campaign” > “Content” > “Ads” 

In the example screenshot below you can see that the majority of clicks are coming from Mobile Gaming Apps:

If you search for “type” > “site” you will also find a list of websites where your display ads appear. You will see that many of them are fake websites. How can you tell? Follow our useful tips below to find out if you’re looking at a fake site. 

How do you detect a fake website?

  • It has thin content and many animated gifs
  • It has old fashion page design
  • There are a high number of ads per page
  • The topics are not relevant for your target audience

So, what should you do when you find fake websites displaying your ads?

  • Stop using automatic placements, instead use managed placements, so that you can add a list of websites you would like to have your display ads show up on.

To do so, you need to go to “targeting” > “add placements” 

In this space, you can add a list of websites you think are relevant for your target audience. You can use tools like SEMrush to search for sites by topic. SEMrush will show you a list of the most linked-to sites, that you can download and add to the placements.

  • Exclude all fraudulent app placements in a few clicks with a simple trick

✓ Go to your “Display Campaign” > “Content” > “Exclusions”

✓ Click the drop-down menu at the top and select > “Placement Exclusions”

✓ Click the "Pen Symbol" and then > “Exclude Placements”

✓ Click "Enter" and then add "mobileappcategory::69500"

By doing this you can exclude fraudulent app placements and block bot traffic that can infiltrate your online advertising. So, as you can see, there are a few easy tricks to help you with click fraud prevention, to ensure your display advertising budget is not being wasted. For more handy tips and tricks, look out for our next PPC blog. 

If you would like help with your current PPC campaign or are new to the world of pay-per-click advertising, Digital Media Stream is an experienced B2B PPC agency that can help you set up and optimise your display advertising account.