Clicking on your competitor's ads: What does it mean and how does it work

Clicking on your competitor's ads: What does it mean and how does it work


Click fraud of advertisements is one of the most common problematic situations for any advertiser who promotes their services or products on the Internet through targeted contextual advertising. Click fraud in a short time can waste the entire budget of a competitor's advertising campaign. It also significantly reduces the number of visits and actual orders from users.


Click fraud bot is capable of getting competitors to click on the ad links instead of ordinary users, completely imitating the behavior of real customers. Such a process is conducted both with the help of special programs and manually.

What is click fraud

Click fraud service is a special deliberate multiple clicks on contextual ads. The main purpose of click fraud is to waste the budget of a competitor promoting products or services in a similar sphere.


Competitor ads clicks are beneficial to a business that sells similar products. In other words, as soon as a competitor burns through their advertising budget, the customer's ad will automatically rise higher in the search results. Because of this, more visitors will come to the page.

What is the purpose of the competitor ads clicking

Programs of advertisements clicking are used for several reasons: 


  • The need to interfere with a competitor. To attract the attention of the target audience to their goods, businesses create the most comfortable conditions for themselves by interfering with competitors in contextual advertising. For such a procedure, clickers are hired - network specialists who are professionally engaged in clicking ads for a fee.

  • Mercantile desire of the owner. If the price of attracting traffic to the site exceeds the cost of advertising, the platform owner may want to earn more through ad clicking.

  • For fun. There are individuals who are engaged in click fraud just for fun. They are not interested in material gain, and they have no goal of hurting a particular resource. Instead of one site, they click ads to many sites. The actions in most cases are spontaneous and chaotic, so the process itself will not be a big problem.

Ads clicking technology

Clicking Yandex Direct ads can take place both automatically and manually. With manual click fraud, there is no large-scale losses, as such technology has a small productivity. Moreover, such actions are defined by the system as ad clicking, so transitions of this kind are not counted. Any costs are automatically credited to the advertiser's account for the possibility of reuse of funds.


The second automatic technology involves the use of a bot. The click fraud bot adjusts itself through a special system and copies the behavior of real visitors. The click fraud bot presses an ad, gets to the site and immediately leaves the site within 10 seconds. The average time the clicker stays on the site is up to 5 seconds. This kind of transition will be counted as interest from a real user, which will write off the competitor's advertising budget.

The dangers of click-fraud for advertising campaigns

Click fraud is a process which mainly affects advertisers, who wasted the budget they had set aside without getting anything out of it. Lack of visitors and sales, large unjustified expenses negatively affect the overall performance of the business and the efficiency of earnings.

According to predictions from the WFA, the World Federation of Advertisers, companies that do business on the Internet will soon have to face an increase in advertising fraud. In just a few years, competitors will start using click fraud service, technologically advanced sophisticated methods to collect as much advertising money as possible through false clicks. 

Clicking google ads, although to a lesser extent, still affects search resources. Search engines also suffer from false clicks. There is a decrease in the reputation of the resources on which they hang ads. All this reduces the credibility of advertisers and creates considerable losses to the owners of platforms.

How to find out advertising click fraud

If the contextual advertising campaign lasts only 30 minutes from the moment it was launched, this means that the site is used to click-fraud on the ads of competitors. There are several signs of click fraud to identify the machinations of unscrupulous competitors.


Fast spending of the allocated budget

It is important to estimate the budget based on the competitors' expenses and your own past experience. That is, if a competitor's theme is estimated at 100, and your budget has a limit of 1000, it will naturally run out in a short time. However, if advertising has run before and the allotted money was enough for a whole day, but now it is spent in 30 minutes - you need to study the statistics of the project. These are signs that someone has decided to click ads of competitors to buy.


Fast exit from the visitors' page and frequent false requests 

To view the statistics on the advertising campaign, you need to go into Google Analytics or Yandex Metric. You should pay special attention to refusals and time spent on the page. If the refusal is more than 90% and the time of visit up to 15 seconds, you can see the manifestation of clicking fraud.


Users with a specific geographic location

You can check the suggestion of click fraud through a report on the location of visitors who click on ad links. If there is a high percentage of visits from one location + a high percentage of refusals and low dwell time on the site, ad click fraud is used. 


Traffic from a specific device

If the report shows that the total traffic data comes from several devices, the refusals from which are more than 90%, it's click fraud.


Conversion regions

When analyzing the report, it's worth paying attention to the regions from which potential customers come. If context-targeted advertising is configured to a specific city, but the statistics show that users click from other cities, located far from the established place, it is a click fraud program


Same visitors

It is easy to distinguish direct ad clicks: direct ads will be filled with identical users. They do not perform any natural actions, do not study the page, and almost immediately leave it and send false requests.


Non-performing clicks indicator

In the search engine statistics there is a tab "Invalid Clicks", which contains the clicks that the program has counted as click fraud bot. In this case, funds lost on such clicks will automatically return to the advertiser's account.

Differences between click fraud and bad contextual advertising

The main difference between click fraud advertising and poorly configured advertising campaign is a dramatic change in the main indicators in combination with the non-standard behavior of the target audience. Order ads clicking means to give the competitor an understanding of the clear competition.


Differences can be found through the number of clicks produced and the number of impressions (CTR). Poorly configured advertising campaign will not interest real users, which means the advertiser will not get many clicks. The CTR will be at a level of 3-5%. 


If the ad campaign is well optimized and able to interest the audience, users clicking on links will interact with the ad. This will have an impact on the growth of account registration and orders, which means there is no ads click fraud or it doesn't work.