“How do I know my competitors aren’t just clicking on my ads all day?” This is a question I hear on a regular basis when talking with clients and prospects. While there is validity to their concerns, Google has safeguarded against some of this and, like most things with Google, we have to trust and not bite the hand that feeds us.

Illustration by Brian Diefenbach, from westernherald.com

Illustration by Brian Diefenbach, from westernherald.com

Google has created a page on their Adwords Help section that explains this fully. They refer to this kind of traffic as “Invalid Traffic”. They put business owners to ease by explaining, “Invalid traffic refers to clicks and impressions on AdWords ads that we suspect aren’t the result of genuine customer interest. Examples of invalid traffic include clicks and impressions performed by automated tools, as well as accidental clicks – for instance, if someone double-clicks your ad. We don’t charge you for invalid clicks and impressions because we think they have little or no value.” (Click here to read further.)

They go on to note examples of invalid traffic, which include the following:

  • Accidental clicks that provide no value, such as a second click or a double-click
  • Manual clicks intended to increase someone’s advertising costs or profits for website owners hosting the ads
  • Clicks and impressions by automated tools, robots or other deceptive software
  • Impressions intended to artificially lower an advertiser’s click-through rate

What Does All This Mean to You?

You can rest assured knowing your hard-earned dollars are not going to waste. Google’s system that they have put into place is able to look at the clicker’s IP address, time of the click, duplication of all clicks and various other factors to make sure people are not being malicious or reckless with their clicks.

While this system, like all systems, isn’t perfect, we at least know that Google has been working hard to try to safeguard us against this. After all, at the end of the day, they want to ensure you remain a repeat customer. In other words, they would much prefer to have someone’s ad spend on a reoccurring monthly basis than the measly few dollars from a malicious click.