Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Estimating the Real Click Fraud Rate

The controversy surrounding click fraud comes up every year, but it apparently reached a fever pitch during December’s Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago when participants voiced concerns over experiencing fraudulent click rates ranging from 20 to 40 percent, threatening the entire paid search industry.

Late last month, Google issued a statement on the Inside AdWords blog that insisted invalid clicks consistently remain under 10%, typically in the single-digits, and that virtually all malicious activity is found by Google’s filter. Many advertisers take issue with that estimate.

In February, Google outlined the three-layer filtration process it uses to combat and eliminate click fraud using both proactive and reactive filters, which is described in an article at Site Pro News.

In April of last year, The Click Fraud Index reported an industry-wide average click fraud rate of 13.7 percent. The click fraud rate was broken down as follows:

  • Tier 1 search providers — 12.1 percent
  • Tier 2 search providers — 21.3 percent
  • Tier 3 search providers — 29.8 percent

As of December, their overall rate was 14.4%.

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