Over the years, there has been an exponential growth in online marketing, and as a result, we have seen an increase in click fraud, as well as digital ad fraud.
How much click fraud is there really though?
And how much is it ultimately costing you?
Today, we are going to be looking at the most important click fraud statistics in recent years, including how the pandemic has affected marketing, and click fraud in general.
Whether it is criminal enterprises or malicious business competitors that are trying to compromise your advertising budget, click fraud is a problem for everybody that is trying to run a PPC campaign.
Key Click Fraud Statistics 2024
- 36% of display ad clicks are fraudulent or invalid
- Click fraud cost $44 billion in 2022
- Digital advertising fraud cost $35 billion in 2018
- Digital advertising fraud is predicted to cost $100 billion in 2023
- More than 7 million companies used Google Ads in 2021
- Google made $146.92 billion in 2020 from Google Ads
- Mobile searches make up 65% of ad clicks
- 94% of customers research a product online before purchasing
Digital Ad & Click Fraud Statistics 2024
1. More than 7 Million Businesses Used Google Ads in 2021
More than seven million businesses used Google ads back in 2021.
Of course, this number is most likely a lot higher, but it indicates how prevalent Google ads are these days as far as marketing opportunities with businesses go.
This obviously comes as no surprise, considering how popular Google is, and how you probably haven’t used any other search engine at any point.
3. Google’s Profit from Google Ads Was $146.92 Billion in 2020
This eye-watering number proves that again, Google is at the top of the marketing chain, making it difficult to compete with.
4. The Cost per Click on Average for Google Ads Is $0.89
Just because Google ads is popular, doesn’t mean it is affordable. While this might not seem like a lot of money, it quickly adds up.
5. The Cost per Click on Average for Bing Ads Is $0.64
Google might be the more popular ad platform when it comes to businesses around the world, but if you’re interested in using Bing, just know that it is going to cost you a lot less.
6. Google’s Click-Through Rate on Average Is 4.12%
This might not blow you away, but it’s still a promising click-through rate considering how many people will end up visiting your ads.
7. Bing’s Average Click-Through Rate Is 3.09%
Yes, you pay more for Google ads, but it appears that it’s worth it considering you get a higher click-through rate with Google compared with Bing.
8. 65% of Clicks Are Mobile Search Results
Ad fraud statistics like this will come as no surprise, considering how many people have mobiles these days, and how many people choose to shop and scroll on their phone.
9. Google’s Shopping Ads Drive 76% of Retail Search Ad Spending
Again, this shows just how powerful Google is as a search engine. This shows that they have a lion’s share of the market as far as retail ads online go as well.
10. 85.3% Google Ad Clicks Are Clicks on Shopping Links
It seems that if you advertise through Google, the people that click on your link are a lot more likely to spend their money and purchase your product.
11. Spending Through Google Shopping Ads Increased by 41% Between 2018 and 2019
Statistics like these show that more and more people are turning to the internet – and Google – to do a lot of their shopping.
Trust in this kind of shopping is growing more and more as the years go on.
12. 94% of Customers Research a Product Before Buying It
This might actually surprise you, considering how many people purchase products online in general.
They might be ready to part with their money online, but they are going to make sure that they do their research to be sure.
13. Shoppers Are 80% More Like to Visit a Physical Shop if They Know the Product Is There
These days, shoppers are savvy in the way that they aren’t just going to turn up to a shop in the hopes that it has the product that they are looking for in stock.
They are going to put the effort in to confirm this beforehand.
14. 64.6% of Visitors Will Click on A Paid Link when Looking for Something Specific
Statistics indicate that when you’ve got a consumer towards the end of the sales funnel, they are much more likely to click on a paid link.
You’ve got to get them towards the end so that you know there’s a good chance of them making the purchase.
15. Visitors Looking for Something Will Usually Make the Purchase Within Five Days
A lot of the time, it takes a consumer five days to make a decision about an online purchase. They might not make the decision straight away, but this doesn’t mean that they’re not going to come back within a week.
16. Visitors from Ads Are 50% More Like to Purchase than Organic Visitors
What’s really interesting is that again, if you manage to get a visitor to your website from a paid ad, you’ve already almost got them all the way there in terms of whether they are going to purchase from you or not.
17. 41% of All Clicks Are on The Top Three Paid Results
This indicates that it’s definitely worth paying for an ad on a search engine like Google, because 41% of people aren’t even going to go past the first three ads – forget about the organic searches that come up first.
18. Approximately 38% of Web Traffic Is Bots
This statistic is pretty frightening and goes to show how much you can’t trust what’s going on with the internet.
This shows that a lot of that web traffic that you think is organic is actually the opposite.
19. 24% of These Bots Are Seen as Bad Bots
This means that 24% of the bots are considered bots that are specifically used for theft and fraud.
Obviously, statistics like this don’t bode well, and probably don’t make you feel too good about your click-through rate.
20. 14% of Clicks on Paid Search Campaigns Are from Illegitimate Sources
Statistics like this indicate that with every paid search campaign that you execute, you are going to be dealing with a little bit of click fraud.
Instead of letting this worry you, it’s just good to be aware when planning your next ad campaign.
21. On-Demand Services Like Pest Control and Plumbing Might Experience 60% Click Fraud on Their Paid Ads
Data like this definitely don’t make you want to invest any money in paid ads – again, you’ve just got to be aware that depending on your industry you might have to deal with more click fraud than you’d like.
22. Click Fraud Cost Marketers Over $35 Billion in 2020
This number is from 2020, which means that click fraud has probably cost marketers a whole lot more since then.
23. Click Fraud Is Predicted to Cost Marketers $44 Billion in 2022
This stark statistic sheds a sobering light on how click fraud can impact your Google Ad campaigns.
24. 90% of All PPC Campaigns on Bing and Google Are Affected by Click Fraud
As you can see from statistics like this, click fraud is a lot more prevalent than you might have thought originally.
Even if you sign up to pay for ads through Google, you are still going to deal with bots.
25. Click Fraud Increased 21% During the Start of The Pandemic
With more people spending time at home during lockdowns, the opportunity for fraud and bots to affect their ad marketing campaigns increased, which is why there was an increase of 21% in click fraud at the start of the pandemic.
26. Companies that Spend $10,000 a Month on Google Ads Lose Approximately $15,000 a Year to Click Fraud
Atatistics like this shed light on what you can expect to lose financially every year as a company if you choose to advertise your business online through Google.
27. Clicks Are Easily Bought Online, with Thousands of Clicks Going for As Little as $5
One of the biggest issues in the click fraud industry is that it’s really easy to purchase clicks for your links online. In fact, there are some companies out there that are selling fake clicks for as little as $5.
28. Click Farms Market Their Features Openly on YouTube
If you aren’t already aware, YouTube is fair game for companies called click farms, where they say that they can generate thousands of clicks for your website and your links for just $100 a month.
29. Click Farms Use a Combination of Real People and Devices to Generate Their Clicks
Click farms use both methods in order to deliver clicks to their clients, and as you can see from statistics like these, there are more authentic ways to do it, and less authentic ways.
30. Botnets and Click Farms Aren’t Illegal, Although Some Aspects of The Operation Can Be Prosecuted
There are a number of ways that the law can catch click farms and botnets out, and one of these ways is through data theft, because a lot of the time companies like this steal your personal information when you sign up to them.
Another way is wire fraud.
What Is Click Fraud?
Click fraud is when a bot clicks on the link that you have paid for through Google Ads instead of a real person.
This means that you are going to get that click counted toward the total number of clicks on your website, but it isn’t going to actually do anything for your social proof, and it certainly isn’t going to result in you being able to sell more of your product or service.
As you can see from the statistics above, it’s a pretty lucrative industry.
What Is a Click Farm?
A click farm is a company that runs software so that thousands of clients are able to receive hundreds of clicks on their links over the course of a few weeks or a month.
However, most of the time a click farm relies on bots and other forms of automated software to achieve this, which again means that these clicks don’t actually do anything for increasing your revenue.
How to Avoid Click Fraud?
The bad news is that it is pretty difficult to avoid click fraud – it’s just a reality of the internet.
However, there are ways that you can increase clicks to your website without having to pay for Google Ads and risk losing money to click fraud.
You can collaborate with other brands, bring on influencers to implement an influencer marketing strategy, and more.
As you can see from these click fraud statistics for 2024, the problem of click fraud is a lot bigger than you might have anticipated.
It would be nice to think that there are only a few people out there being affected by this, but the reality is that there are millions around the world that waste a lot of their hard-earned money each year signing up for a Google Ad campaign, only for it to fall prey to click fraud.
It is very likely that click fraud and digital ad fraud in general will continue to be a problem in the future, so try to combine your online search engine ads with organic ways of increasing your website traffic.