Click fraud is when a user – human or bot – pretends to be a legitimate website visitor and clicks on an ad, button or hyperlink. Click fraud aims to fool a platform or service into thinking legitimate users are interacting with a landing page, ad or app.
Typically, click fraud occurs on a large scale and all targeted links are clicked multiple times. Automated bot traffic can be leveraged effectively to continually click links.
Threat actors may use different click fraud techniques, including:
• Ad Fraud: This click fraud strategy is primarily used to damage a competitor’s PPC budgets
• Rankings & engagements: Automated click bots can be used to generate artificial engagement around specific social media content to improve a post’s organic visibility, or to improve a landing page’s click-through rate from the search engine results pages (SERPs)
What is a click bot?
Click bots vary in complexity, from the simplest bot accessing a landing page to a sophisticated bot programmed to mimic human behaviour.
To further disguise the nefarious activity, threat actors utilise multiple internet-connected devices, each of which will have a unique IP address, to manufacture the appearance of legitimate user behaviour i.e. it looks as though each click comes from a different user. This network of devices is known as a botnet.
How to prevent click fraud
If a threat actor is using a botnet to carry out a click fraud campaign, it can be challenging for the target organisation to detect malicious behaviour before it is too late. However, by learning what ordinary traffic looks like, you are equipped to quickly and accurately detect anomalies and block bad bots.
Collaborate with an expert bot management vendor that specialises in analysing intent and identifying patterns in user behaviour to ensure you understand what constitutes normal in the unique context of your traffic environment.