2020: Click Fraud in Review

Written by Matthew Edwards

December 22, 2020

I know I’ve spoken about click fraud and Google Ads before, but it’s a sad reality. Whether we’re talking about competitors trying to reduce your company’s marketing effectiveness or computer savvy internet trolls, the reality is, click fraud is something that we have to deal with. And to make it worse, there is no true incentive for companies like Google and Facebook to step in and put controls in place to reduce the occurrence of it.

We’ve actually been quite lucky in New Zealand. Generally speaking, we see a low percentage of click fraud compared to some other countries out there. For example, let’s look at the top 6 countries for click fraud:

Thailand, with around 45% of clicks considered fraudulent.

Yemen, with 38% fraudulent clicks.

Singapore, with 35% fraudulent clicks.

Moldova, coming in just below Singapore at 34% fraudulent clicks.

Israel, with 30% of clicks considered fraudulent.

Romania, just like Israel, Romania experiences click fraud on 30% of all clicks.

The most common search terms, globally, with a rampant click fraud problem are:
*each keyword below includes variations and related phrases.

Repairs, with 67.71% fraudulent clicks.

Casino, hitting 64.18% fraudulent clicks.

Lawyer, with click fraud at 58.91% of clicks.

Business Energy, with 58.33% fraudulent clicks.

SEO, with 50.53% of clicks considered fraudulent.

Click Fraud in 2020

If you’re reading this then you’ve obviously survived what many are calling the worst year, and it definitely had its fair share of issues, but there are probably very few people out there who would put their hand up and say that click fraud was one of them. But let’s take a look at the data captured by PPC Protect, a click fraud prevention company that uses algorithms to sort traffic, allowing genuine visitors to click on your ads and reach your website while blocking fraudulent clicks, saving you a significant amount of money. It’s also a system that we, Mars Digital, use on all Google Ads accounts we manage and it’s included in our standard cost.

Here’s a quick look back at the top trends in click fraud that emerged throughout 2020.

11% of all search ad clicks were invalid

That’s an increase of 8% since 2019.

36% of display ad clicks were invalid

That’s an increase of 13% on 2019.

17% of CTV impressions were invalid

That’s an increase of 22% from 2019.

Only 13% of users saw little to no invalid clicks

The best industry to be in to avoid click fraud in 2020? Travel!

Bots accounted for 38% of invalid activity

By contrast, competitor activity accounted for 17% of invalid clicks.

The average SME lost $14,900 to click fraud

That’s up 12% from 2019, and over $1,000 every month.

A digital agency that creates solutions, not just websites.


      – Mars Digital

This isn’t something we thought just sounded good, it really is our underlying purpose, our goal and our motto.  We focus on developing ideas and bringing them to live through the use of the internet and related technologies.

We look into the issues and limits that a business is faced with and put our minds together to find a way to smash through the barrier and help your business soar!

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