If you’re paying for Baidu PPC and you are you fed up with paying for clicks that won’t result in a sale, or else just outright fraudulent then you will want to read this article carefully.
Unfortunately, fraudulent clicks on Baidu PPC are real. While, it is next to impossible to prevent fraud clicks to ever happen to you, there are methods of detection. Here we are going to share with you how you can recognize and avoid fraud clicks on Baidu PPC.
What are fraud clicks or malicious clicks?
Click fraud is a format of fraud activity in pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising. It is a black hat practice done through extensive ad clicks on an ad link without any real interest to the ad. This is a disgraceful deed usually from malicious competitors. Their purpose, of course, is to deplete your daily ad budget and prevent your ad from displaying against theirs.
Use Baidu Shangdun(百度商盾) to Prevent Fraudulent Clicks
Baidu has a free tool named Baidu Shangdun(百度商盾), which is designed to diagnose and invalidate those fraud clicks. To use Baidu Shangdun, you can easily find it in the Baidu MCC.
Great, now you have a free tool embedded in Baidu that will help you prevent fraud clicks, but is that all you need?
Not even close.
Using Baidu Shangdun is like putting up wood fences to your house, it will help you set boundaries against your invaders but it will not give you protection from the more vicious attacks.
What Shangdun is capable of is to find suspicious IPs and provide you with an option to block them from displaying ads to.
The problem, however, is, detecting fraud clicks via IP is simply outdated. Your attacker has evolved and adopted more advanced and clever tricks to break down your wooden fences.
There for if you’re a beginner advertiser, Shangdun maybe a 5 out of 5 stars to you. But as you become more experience with Baidu PPC, you’ll learn to develop an arsenal of weapons to fight against fraudulent clicks.
8 Ways to Recognize Fraudulent Clicks
1. Use IP Detection
As mentioned above, clicks from similar IP can be easily detected and blocked by Shangdun. However, this type of fraud clicks has little effects on your campaigns.
Usually, those visits come subsequently
2. Record Flash Cookies
Recording and reading flash cookies is a great way to prevent fraudulent Baidu PPC clicks. First, unlike regular cookies, Flash cookies are not stored by the browser, it is instead stored by Flash itself. This means the browser cannot clear flash cookie unless the user manually does a cleanup.
So, if any part of your website can detect and record flash cookies (e.g. third-party plugin), it will help you recognize those fraud clicks. The challenge with this method, however, is flash cookies can only be used if the user has flash installed on the computer.
3. Look for Linux Browsers
It is highly unlikely that your competitor will hire an actual human to manually click on your Baidu PPC ads over and over again because the overhead is not worth it. Most fraudulent clicks are a result of automation scripts and these will usually require a none mainstream browser and are usually Linux based. Keep an eye on those larger volumes clicks from an unpopular Linux browser.
4. Track Mouse Movements
If your mouse movement or heat map tracker (e.g. Mouseflow, Crazyegg) discover a number of similar movement flow path, it could be another sign of scripted fraudulent clicks.
The reason is normal users will scroll up and down, hover over your text, image, and other parts of your web page before leaving or clicking a button.
Try segment your paid search traffic from the others, and compare if there are any outliner in those paths
5. Check Your Time Frame Reports
Sometimes the cost of CPC is so higher, it might even be worth it to your competitors to hire someone to humanly create fraudulent clicks on your ads. If this happens to you, then you cannot use the above methods to detect fraud clicks instead you will have to look at your Time Frame reports.
If you see an abnormal peak on your Time Frame report and find your daily budget was excessively consumed in a short period of time that would be a good indication of fraud clicks.
Unfortunately, this type of fraudulent clicks in China’s digital marketing is not all that rare or uncommon. Since this method is very easy to operate and can be executed very fast. So, pay close attention to those keywords with high CPC value.
6. Use Location Reports
Alternatively, to looking at your Time Frame report, can you also use location as a dimension to help you detect fraudulent click and tricks.
7. Use Baidu Eye (黄金眼)
If you have Baidu Eye, a premium version of their PPC campaign management tool, then you can actually track previous and after actions of the visitors with corresponding IP address.
Let me explain.
If a visitor comes to your site using a query such as “ice wine”, you are able to view what the visitor searched for before the term “ice wine” and as well as what they do afterward.
This gives context, and more insights when you are suspicious of about fraudulent traffic. If there are a large amount clicks from the same group of contextual queries, they are surely coming from script bots.
8. Check Historical Statistics
Your statistic background will help you in identifying fraudulent clicks too. For example, you can use Benford’s Law to observe your traffic and gain powerful insights when the traffic is big enough.
Note: Benford’s law, also called the first-digit law, is an observation about the frequency distribution of leading digits in many real-life sets of numerical data. The law states that in many naturally occurring collections of numbers, the leading significant digit is likely to be small. – wikipedia.org
What if fraudulent clicks have already cost me?
If you’re already suffering from fraudulent clicks and have lost a tremendous amount of money. You can attempt to negotiate with Baidu to claim a reasonable amount back.
However, unless you have a great relationship with Baidu awhile now, you may be faced with a long wait and extremely slow respond to speed. Usually, Baidu would only focus on ad agencies or giant brands with a huge budget to spend.
During the negotiation, Baidu will usually use their own Baidu Statistics rather than any third-party tool to determine your claim. Therefore, keeping your historical data always backed up is definitely a good habit.