Our invalid clicks rate ; the activity rate ; has remained in the range of less than 10% of all clicks every quarter since we launched AdWords in 2002. At Google’s current revenue rate, every percentage point of invalid clicks we throw out represents over $100 million/year in potential revenue foregone.
Because it is difficult to definitively determine the intent of a click in many cases, the number of invalid clicks that we filter also include those filtered for reasons separate from fraudulent intent. Cases of provable click fraud attempts constitute a small minority of the clicks we mark as invalid. There are many greyer cases of possible click fraud attempts (but without clear scientific proof, for which we still choose not to charge advertisers. For example, we have an automated rule which filters out the second click of all double clicks as a matter of policy. We mark this kind of activity as invalid simply to optimize advertiser ROI. Those clicks are included in our activity metric and are also a good reason we use the term invalid clicks instead of fraud.
But according to Google, in the worst cases, on average 10% of all ad clicks are invalid. Typically, the amount is in the low-single-digit percentages. Google bases that figure on the average number of invalid clicks that it catches, and as a result, doesn't charge customers for. That amounts to about $1 billion a year in payments Google could have collected, but chose not to, it said. The amount of click fraud Google doesn't catch, but is brought to its attention by advertisers, represents less than 0.02% of the times an ad's clicked upon, according to Google.
Google also said Thursday it will introduce a number of new click-fraud-fighting measures in coming weeks and months. They include letting advertisers notify Google about specific Internet addresses from where they suspect click-fraud attacks are emanating.
Google claims that click fraud represents a very small amount--a percentage that is in the single digits--of total clicks, and says it catches nearly all of it before customers get charged. Google has said that less than 10 percent of all clicks on ads it serves are dubious in nature and it does not charge advertisers for those. Google provides refunds to customers who request them because of suspicious clicks for less than 0.02 percent of all clicks, the company said.
On Wednesday the company said that "less than 10%" of all clicks in its AdWords network are “invalid". What's an invalid click? Not necessarily a fraudulent click: It could also be unintended double-clicks, certain "innocent" types of bots or web-crawlers that open up advertising links, or simply Web browser errors.
OK, so how much click fraud is Google dealing with? The company still won't say. It's a subset of that "less than 10%" number, but it won't say more than that, other than noting that advertisers themselves identify .02% of their clicks as fake. If Google agrees an advertiser-reported click is truly bad, it offers a credit.