Your computer has been hacked!
But what does that mean, exactly?
Hackers might be trying to learn your email or bank account passwords, steal your identity, or…
…click online ads?!
That’s right — some malware is made just for the purpose of surreptitiously clicking online ads.
So, why would hackers go to the trouble of creating malware just to click on online ads? What do they get out of it? Simple: money.
This practice is known as “click fraud.” And it is a huge industry. Some estimate that click fraud takes up about a third of all digital ad spending. Pages displaying ads make more money the more clicks those ads get, whether or not they’re made by a real person.
Competitor click fraud can also occur. This is where the perpetrator purposely drives up their competitor’s advertising costs by clicking on their ads over and over.
Click fraud is estimated to cost advertisers tens of billions of dollars a year.
The web seems like a perfect marketing opportunity: companies like Google and Facebook gather detailed demographic and behavioral data about their users, and then use it to sell highly targeted ads to businesses. Want to advertise your business only to 30 year old stay-at-home moms who are interested in yoga? The web makes that cheap and easy. Compared to expensive advertising on TV, magazines, or billboards, it’s a no-brainer.
Unfortunately, click fraud can make even digital advertising costly, and greatly reduce its effectiveness.
Many of those highly targeted clicks you are paying for are actually from bots or low-paid workers.
Thinking about buying ads for your business? Advertising online can be an incredibly effective method to grow your business, but only if you’re aware of click fraud and take steps to minimize it.
Find out how it all works in the graphic below.
Panic Over Click Fraud