The threat of fraudulent clicks continues to haunt marketers despite attempts at devising new security systems. However, both the expense and frustration can be avoided if companies are educated regarding their options, according to SearchAdNetwork, a search engine marketing company.
SearchAdNetwork practices an approach known as profit through performance. Clients on this model are charged a fee only when a lead or sale is generated, not when an ad is clicked.
“Internet advertising is experiencing a rapid boom, but click fraud has the potential to stifle its adoption, especially if the safeguards put in place by search engines and other search engine marketing firms fail to protect the online marketer,” said Andrew Beckman, president of SearchAdNetwork, Denver.
SearchAdNetwork claims 10 percent to 20 percent of all clicks on search ads are fraudulent and that 3 million computers are contaminated with the software used for this scam. The company estimates that 15 percent of a search engine marketing budget goes to click fraud. In some competitive markets this figure can reach 50 percent.
“For non-clients, exposure regarding SearchAdNetwork’s profit through performance brings to the spotlight the need for an industry-wide shift to this type of risk-free model,” Mr. Beckman said. “SearchAdNetwork strongly believes that all search engine marketing efforts can and should be ROI-driven in order to ensure the client maximizes their investment and search engine marketing continues to grow.”
The company’s click-fraud reporting mechanisms are applied to clients’ campaigns. The data from these reports are used to debate with engines about the quality of traffic and to ensure clients receive legitimate clicks, leads and sales.
“To date, this approach has proven quite successful, and the pool of clients on this model continues to grow,” Mr. Beckman said.