How to Prevent Invalid Activity

Publishers expect that their content should be viewed by legitimate consumers. However, criminal organizations have attacked the digital ad ecosystem with malware and other methods that generate invalid traffic and defraud legitimate participants. Thus, publishers may end up paying a material portion of their campaign.

Whenever you get a lot of clicks from one user, Google will understand someone is trying to manipulate your Adsense account. Though Adsense credits the fraud clicks revenue on estimated earnings initially, it will be discredited once they detect it as a fraud.

In this guide, I will introduce you to the term invalid activity and how could you prevent it. So let’s move further.

What is Invalid Activity?

Google detects invalid user activity when a real person interacts with an ad, but not out of actual interest. Such activities are intentional and sometimes downright fraudulent. For example, publishers might ask (or even pay) users to click on ads, watch videos, or view content they wouldn’t normally engage with to increase their impression counts.

How Google detect invalid activity?

Google’s experts carefully screen clicks and impressions on Google ads with a specific end goal to secure distributors’ interests and in addition those of the advertisers. To do this, they use both automated systems and human reviews investigating all ad clicks and impressions for any invalid click action that may falsely drive up a advertisers’ cost or a publisher’s earning.

Google’s proprietary technology analyzes clicks and impressions to determine whether they fit a pattern of use that may artificially drive up an advertiser’s costs or a publisher’s earnings. Some examples of this activity include clicks or impressions generated by unethical users, automated robots and traffic sources, and publishers encouraging clicks on their ads.

Google takes invalid activity very seriously. When it found something wrong, it tries to make it correct as early as possible. It suspends or disable invalid accounts, and may withhold payments to the publisher.

How can you prevent invalid activity?

As a publisher, you are responsible for the traffic on your ads. Thus, it is your duty to prevent suspicious activity on your account. Here I have listed some easy ways through which you can spot something suspicious and notify Google.

Analyze your ad traffic and visitors:

Analyzing your traffic using URL channels, custom channels, or even DFP ad units will help you determine how changes to traffic sources or implementation can affect your ad traffic. You can also use Google analytics to better understand your site visitors or any suspicious user behavior.

Avoid partnering with untrusted / low-quality parties: 

Collaborating with low-quality ad networks, search engines, or directory sites for increased traffic can lead to issues with invalid activity. So it’s better to stay away from such parties.

Don’t click on your own ads: 

AdSense policies strictly suggest that publishers are prohibited from clicking on their own ads. If Google detects such activity for inflated earning, they may disable the account to protect their advertisers.

Check your ad implementation: 

Make sure your ad implementation has no programming errors and it meets AdSense criteria. Ensure that all users from different browsers will interact with them.

Read: Best Practices For Google AdSense Placement

If you suspect that invalid clicks may have resulted from a visitor to your site, AdSense suggests that you review your site’s logs for any suspicious activity and notify them of your findings.

I hope you find this helpful! If anyone has any thoughts to add, please share them! I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have. You might further like to read my another guide –  Common Mistakes That May Block Your AdSense Account.

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