Combatting Ad Fraud: Detecting 107 Invalid Clicks in 12 Days

Company A detected 107 invalid clicks in less than two weeks of using Spider AF’s trial. Recuperating about 3% of their total advertising costs, this is a story of how they fought and overcame ad fraud.
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The company was able to increase their refund from a paltry sum to nearly a thousand dollars, all the while making improvements on resources they spent on daily checks.

In this article, we’ll talk about a home security company that develops services according to diversifying lifestyles. We’ll call it Company A to preserve its identity. This company is well respected and has earned much praise from users and critics alike. Through the eyes of its marketing manager, let’s see how they tackled ad fraud and the effects of the result on their business.


・20-30 minutes of daily manual ad monitoring

・Invalid ad clicks have been increasing for the last six months

Results Using Spider AF’s Free Trial

・Invalid IPs: 650

・Invalid clicks: 1,473 — more than 17% of the total 8,602 clicks

・Refunded amount in June: $836.24 USD

・Refunded amount in July: $407.90 USD

Actual screen from the trial period showing the breakdown of invalid access.

In only 12 days of the trial period, Company A successfully detected 107 clicks from fraudsters. This saved them about 3% of their advertising costs.

Q. Thank you for joining us today. We'd like to know a little about your business, particularly your marketing targets.

Thank you for having me, I am the manager of the marketing department. It's a large organization with close to 20 people in the department, all split up among advertising, design, SEO, etc. Of course, our ultimate goal is to make a profit, but we also deal with inbound KPI such as number of inquiries.

Q. What is your current marketing budget?

We've had to lower our budget because of the effects of the coronavirus, but it's roughly $3,000 per month. In the past, it was about $7,000 during the busy periods so, in comparison, it's about half that now.

Q. Has the direction of your marketing policies changed because of COVID-19?

Our general strategy hasn't changed, but the influx of customers has decreased. So our cost-effectiveness (ROAS) has become very important.

Q. When did you feel that measures to counter ad fraud were necessary?

In the last couple of years, I became aware that invalid clicks were happening. On the dashboard, you could see that although we only had a couple of ad spends per month, we were also getting refunds. That's when I felt that there must have been some invalid clicks happening. And that's how I got the impression that in the last six months the number of abnormal clicks had been increasing.

Q. Did you check for these abnormal clicks by yourself?

That's right. I spent about 20-30 minutes every day doing just that. I always looked out for what keywords were getting anomalous clicks. Looking at the dashboard every day, I was always wondering why there were no conversions even though our ads were being clicked.

Q. How long did it take for petitioned clicks to be considered fraudulent?

I would find fraudulent clicks about once a month. Taking a screenshot and then sending it doesn't take much time; finding and deducing something is fraudulent is what takes up a lot of time.

Q. How much refund did you get back?

The amount refunded differs per month, but the most we’ve gotten back is $200 to $300. The least would be hovering around a couple to tens of dollars.

Q. I get the impression that determining something as fraud by yourself must be pretty difficult. Is it?

It is. I have to compare the date and times for each campaign, ad group, and keyword to see if there's been an increase in abnormal clicks.

Q. That sounds very stressful. I also heard that cost-per-click (CPC) also increases easily.

Depending on the keyword, it varies, but say on an average CPC of $2~$3, it could go up to $30. I even wondered to myself if other companies had some part in this.

In some cases, the CPC rose nearly 10x.

Q. It looks like you were using another tool before Spider AF, could you tell us what made you switch over?

That's right. We had a contract with another company, but didn't use it so much to the extent that I didn't even know the tool had a dashboard. I had no idea if any ad fraud was happening nor how effective it was in preventing it. We used it for about six months until we tried out Spider AF's free trial. That's when we terminated our contract with them.

Q. How were the results you found on Spider AF’s  free trial?

We were surprised by the amount we got back. We got back close to $840? When I was checking, I think the most we ever got back was probably around $200 to $300. In July, we even got back about $410 so I felt very thankful for that.

With Spider AF, we were able to also eliminate the manual checking I was doing for 20-30 minutes every day. Roughly, we recuperated about 3% of our advertising costs. Although the amount refunded to us may look small, I think it will further help reduce the number of invalid clicks from occurring.

Breakdown of refunded ad spend

Q. Do you think you want to use Spider AF in the future?

Yes, I do. I think it will depend on how much we recover back from the refund. That being said, I think it's like a game of cat-and-mouse in the sense that invalid clicks can just appear out of nowhere so it's important to be consistent.

Q. What do you think bothers you the most when it comes to ad fraud?

Wasteful costs. It truly hurts when you see your cost-effectiveness drop. We're all bound by a limited budget, so not being able to spend that money on genuine customers is troublesome. So looking at that point, I feel it's important we continue with Spider AF. I want to use all of the advertising fees we save with Spider AF to spend on ads and policies.

Q. If your goal is to lower advertising costs, are you using any tools to achieve this?

Not currently. I’m aware that there is a tool that automates deliveries and reporting, but we are prioritizing things that directly lead to reductions in advertising costs and invalid clicks rather than getting more resources.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on brand safety or any expectations for Spider AF?

When it comes to YouTube or any video-related content, you need to have measures in place to ensure that trust in your company doesn't erode. Currently, there are no such measures in place, so when it comes to brand safety, we will continue to use Spider AF for that as well. Having measures against ad fraud is the same as preventing cavities; doing regular checkups prevent new threats.

See for yourself how much ad fraud is affecting your ad campaigns. Sign up to Spider AF’s 14-day free trial - no strings attached!

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