Google has enhanced the available reports in Google AdWords to include information on invalid clicks and and invalid click rates per campaign.
The invalid clicks and invalid click rate figures give advertisers an idea of how many clicks Google filtered out as invalid before charging the advertiser for them. This is nothing new: Google routinely filters out invalid or fraudulent clicks before advertisers are charged for them. The only difference is that they now tell advertisers exactly how many clicks are filtered out for each campaign.
This information can be quite helpful in itself: For ineedhits’ own Google AdWords campaigns for example, the invalid click rate ranges from 3.96% to over 16%. It will be interesting to investigate how the invalid click rate relates to conversion rates for the individual campaigns. Will a high reported invalid click rate for a campaign be inversely related to the campaign’s conversion rate, indicating that there might be a lot of undetected click fraud, or will it be positively related to conversion rates, indicating that Google was able to identify most of the invalid and fraudulent clicks?
While these figures are now being reported and more transparent, they don’t address the more pressing problem for advertisers; that is, how many invalid or fraudulent clicks they ARE being charged for.
Some estimates have put the percentage of fraudulent clicks being charged to advertisers as high as 14%. If you add this figure onto the amount of detected invalid clicks, it may well indicate that one fifth to one quarter of the entire click volume generated by paid search advertising could be invalid.
To view your invalid click reports, select the appropriate tick boxes in Google AdWords’ “Campaign Report” reporting. What kind of numbers are you seeing?