Just to reassure you about your unpredicted drop in earnings, it can be a variety of things and it usually is, your CPC average from each country can change whenever it wants so this could be your change in earnings. However you may have noticed that your CPC from other countries is perfectly fine and before you know it, you’ve fallen into the trap of invalid clicks, here I can help explain what invalid clicks are, what happens when they do appear & how to prevent it happening all together.
What is an invalid click?
An invalid click is basically an activity that consists of any clicks and impressions that are not genuine. These clicks and impressions usually inflate an advertiser’s costs or a publisher’s earnings, therefore leading Google to decide whether they should charge the advertiser. This is sometimes on the Advertiser’s behalf as well, when the clicks or impressions are generated by the publisher themselves – have you considered clicking on your own ad? getting a family member to do so in the house? Think again…
Google picks up on clicks from the same IP address (including your own), how many times you have refreshed your own web site, pages, links (same in your house hold), publishers encouraging clicks on their ads, automated clicking tools or traffic sources, robots etc
Please note that clicks on Google ads must result from genuine user interest, and any method that artificially generates clicks or impressions is strictly prohibited by Google’s programme policies as I have linked below if you’re not sure what applies to their programme.
The reason they are so strict is because people are paying for their advertisements to be clicked by genuine users, people who are interested in their website/services. It is only fair that we bide by Adsense policies and all earn money the fair way.
What can I do to prevent an invalid click?
If you have experienced an”invalid click” you have to bare in mind that if you are the Ad Sense Publisher – you are solely responsible for the traffic on those ads. For this reason, it’s critical that you monitor your ad traffic to ensure that your account is compliant with Adsense policies and isn’t occurring around invalid activity on a daily basis.
- Segment your ad traffic using the channels provided on your account. This facility that is offered is something many people do not talk about very often, however this helps the users break down their traffic reports into meaningful segments. You will be able to do this by using URL channels and customized channels and other ways. What the report will do is help you understand in each channel how your ad traffic can be effected, for example: how do moving this specific ad unit affect my CPC rate on this channel?
- Be aware of who’s visiting your site and how they’re going about this. Google Analytics is your buddy here, this is where you can get detailed information about your site visitors. I know it sounds silly having to monitor your site because anyone can land on your web site & potentially harm your earnings, yet it’s important to check and look out for suspicious behavior.
- Avoid clicking on your own ads completely. If you’re getting friends and family in your own house to click on your ads and you’re doing so yourself, then you are going wrong here I swear. I must admit in the past, I have been interested in my own AD in the past and clicked it by accident. Clicking your own ad is prohibited as we have talked about already. Don’t panic, the odd one or two won’t do any harm it’s easy to forget, we are only human, just try to avoid this as much as you can. The accounts can then be banned because the publisher/user has been seen to try increase their earnings or an advertiser’s costs. This action is taken to protect the advertisers.
Overall watch your ad traffic, don’t be tempted to click on your own ads and getting family members to do so and just comply with the policies of Google Adsense, estimated earnings are never fully correct on Google all the time anyway so don’t try and stress out to much about that for now.
How to Detect Invalid Click Activity
Here I have gathered some examples from my own personal experience and even though we can’t actually stop people from affecting our Adsense Accounts from creating invalid clicks, we can hopefully spot suspicious behavior and tackle the issue before it becomes a real problem all together.
1) Your CTR between 1% to 11% is usually considered normal/average. If your CTR goes above 20% then you should consider doing something about it. If you get 25 clicks in 100 page views then you will see you should have a CTR rate of 25%, this is where you should take action as soon as you see unusual activity like this in your Adsense account,.
2) If you have noticed you have received a lot of clicks i.e. 60 clicks but you have a rate of CPC% at 0, then those are classed as invalid clicks. Therefore Google will discard them.
3) If you get an Estimated Earnings report equal to £3.70 and in the next minute or next hour it turns to £0.00 then this can be due to invalid click activity. In this type of problem, you’ll have noticed that your earnings have gone up but then they have suddenly disappeared or become half when you refresh the page. This is because Google first considers the Clicks and the CPC but after verification, Google will discard them as invalid clicks.
4) If you get too many clicks from a particular country but less page views then your clicks, then that too can be a problem. This is because the CTR% would go high for that particular country i.e. America.