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I need some help blocking some competitors from viewing our paid ads.

We use a software to see where our traffic is coming from. We are seeing a lot of clicks to our paid ads from URLs and IP addresses that are NOT going to be a potential customer. This is costing money.

We ideally would like to block banks, insurance companies, basically anyone we know who is not going to be of value to us/potential customer.

Should we block at the URL level (for our retargeting ads), IP (for our AdWords), etc...?

  • Does the "software" you use to identify traffic able to identify "banks" and "insurance companies", etc.? Are these "competitors"? – MrWhite Jan 9 at 23:51
  • MrWhite....the software is used to only show traffic at in in depth level. This software only shows us traffic, and we have to go back to google to make changes to paid ads to exclude types of traffic. – Webman Jan 10 at 14:53
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This is a question that I've encountered from clients multiple times, most of the time it's by people with little knowledge of PPC, who are in highly competitive fields but on very tight budgets, and who tend to be more than a little paranoid. It's also usually from people who would personally do exactly the same thing to their competition. However, that's not to say that irrelevant, malicious clicks can never be a problem.

Google themselves have strong filters in place to flag such clicks as irrelevant. As such, you're either not charged at all or automatically refunded for these. You can see the clicks Google are flagging themselves as irrelevant in your Google Ads interface.

...add the invalid interaction data columns to your campaign statistics table to see the number and percentage of invalid interactions in your account.

https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/2549113

As that page also mentions, if you feel that these filters aren't stopping malicious clicks on your ads, you can report these to Google yourself. It links off to a whole separate page where Google outlines what steps you can take to both identify invalid clicks and how to stop them or report them to Google to get a refund.

https://www.google.com/ads/adtrafficquality/what-you-can-do.html

Aside from that, there are third-party services which can monitor your traffic and automatically report invalid clicks on your behalf. Whether you want to pay for these would depend on how much money you believe you are losing. I personally have never used any of these, but a quick Google search for, "stop competitors clicking adwords," will give you plenty of options to research yourself.

  • Thank you for the reply. Yeah, I have a limited knowledge of PPC and this task has been asked of me to look into. I think we can prevent some unnecessary paid ad clicks. – Webman Jan 10 at 21:35
  • @Wedman Sorry, that opening paragraph wasn't meant as a critique. Just that it's often a problem that is seen as bigger than it is. If you have genuine reason to believe that you're getting malicious clicks, then certainly look into it further. – GeoffAtkins Jan 11 at 7:43
  • I have found countless resources related to blocking IP or URL addresses. Is there any other way that I am not thinking to prevent unwanted clicks? And maybe prevent ads from being seen by certain select industries - insurance, financial, etc... (not sure if blocking certain certain industries is possible or even a good idea). – Webman Jan 15 at 16:57
  • There are audience level bid adjustments you can make, but how Google defines members of its audiences is a little too nebulous and I'd not recommend it. – GeoffAtkins Jan 15 at 18:37
  • I think click fraud software could be beneficial for us, compared to our employees learning how to manage click fraud, keeping up on the issues, and so on... – Webman Jan 15 at 19:03

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