TempWorks budgets $10k monthly on pay-per-click advertising – a tidy sum, and so articles like this one from the New York Times about click fraud cause me to refocus on that spend and make sure it’s worthwhile.
My favorite tool for monitoring pay-per-click fraud isn’t Google Analytics, which is preferred by many search engine marketers. Instead, I use SiteMeter, which offers its product in both a free and subscription (aka freemium) basis and allows me to watch visits and page views as they happen.
SiteMeter gives me displays like this, and if you notice the second line highlighted in red, you’ll see that it says someone came to the TempWorks website from a dictionary reference site:
Hmm. So why am I getting traffic from a dictionary site? Well, I track the reference to this page and see that someone looked up the word “temporarily”:
So Google using its “broad match” algorithm matched my ad for “temporary staffing’ with the word “temporarily” and charged me a dollar or so.
I don’t like that 10-15% of my spend goes to mismatches or outright click fraud, and I don’t like even more that complaints to Google don’t get the time of day. Such is the behavior of a monopolist. Put up or shut up.
At the end of the day, though, I look at the return on investment and make decisions accordingly. Half of advertising dollars are wasted, they say; we just don’t know which half.