I'm struggling a bit with AdWords and would really appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction!
I've got a new campaign running - $50/day and about 24 ads. Our new site is doing well and some of our competitors aren't overly happy about our new found success.
I'm almost certain they're clicking on our ads. We just aren't getting the ROI we should and our budget runs out quite quickly. It's always possible that it's just my imagination but either way I would like to know for sure.
But it seems you need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure it out!
I have already blocked the ads from mobile users as I've heard phone clicks are very difficult to track.
I've looked in AdWords, but they won't give out IP addresses. I also haven't had any luck in Google Analytics.
I can see both the IPs and the "gclid" pages in AwStats but I can't find a way to tie the two together.
The only place I'm able to tie an IP address to the "gclid" is my raw access log. But this is pretty confusing as I can't really see a click, just a file request - so it's hard to lump all the requests together and divide it into pages and clicks.
I *think* I see an excessive amount of clicks from a particular IP in the log file but it's so hard to be conclusive with the data I can see..
Does anyone have any advice to offer?
I'd really love to find a way to see exactly what's going on in my campaign but Google isn't making this easy..
I don't have much advice for you on the technical front, but I can provide some insight into click fraud.
Google's basic click fraud mechanism kicks in approximately after the third click from a single IP on an ad. If it's active, you shouldn't be getting more clicks from a single IP.
Most people who are performing sophisticated click fraud will be using proxies and/or TOR anyway, so it's unlikely that you'll catch much just by looking at IP addresses. You'll need to look at deeper analytical data like browser/OS combos and patterns of visit.
The other thing to bear in mind is that this may not be click fraud at all. It's possible that your new campaign just naturally attracts lots of (unqualified?) clicks for some reason. You may want to see if rejigging your ad copy and keyword selection will improve stuff for you.
Google has top of the line click fraud detection for the content network and search. Even if you could click fraud your competitors, the results are hard to predict and it's extremely impractical. Every time you forge an impression and click, you're raising your targets CTR and lowering your own, thus driving their CPC down and yours up.
If you're pretty new to CPC, keep in mind that it takes time to establish a reasonably steady ROI. Every situation is different, but you could end up paying half as much in month 2 as opposed to month 1 and so on.
Also don't underestimate the power of split testing. Your gut may tell you your campaign is as good as it's going to be, but when in doubt, test it out.