Advertisers are falling victim to a retargeting fraud scam that is costing them millions of dollars every day. Cybersecurity firm Polygraph has uncovered the scam that involves bots clicking on high-value search advertisements to trick retargeting algorithms to display lucrative adverts on scam websites.
Retargeting is a marketing technique that redisplays ads to individuals who have shown an interest in a website. The scammers are using bots to search for high-value ad keywords on search engines like Google and Bing, clicking on the search results, including the advertisements, to generate fake conversions on the websites they visit. This is accomplished by adding items to a shopping cart or submitting fake data to a leads form. The bots then navigate to the scammers’ websites, where they are presented with high-value ads for the websites they just visited, which they then click on, earning money for both the scammers and ad network.
The scammers are targeting specific advertising keywords, including finance, law, travel, medicine, and education, which they use to trick retargeting algorithms into displaying lucrative ads on their click fraud websites. This maximizes their potential income.
Polygraph’s head of marketing, Trey Vanes, says that advertisers can protect themselves against the retargeting click fraud scam. Advertisers can remove targeted ad keywords from their advertising campaigns, which makes it easy for bots to no longer see their ads. Polygraph helps advertisers detect click fraud, remove at-risk keywords from their advertising campaigns, block click fraud websites, and get refunds from advertising networks.
“We tell our clients if their search keywords are being targeted by bots,” said Vanes. “The keywords can then be removed from their ad campaigns, typically by adding them as negative keywords, which means the bots can no longer see our clients’ ads, and the click fraud problem goes away.”
Polygraph lists the details of every fake click, including the referring scam websites and why the clicks are fraudulent, giving advertisers the power to block click fraud websites and apply for click fraud refunds from the ad networks.
Advertisers need to be aware of the retargeting fraud scam and take steps to protect themselves. By working with a cybersecurity firm like Polygraph, advertisers can detect click fraud, remove at-risk keywords, block click fraud websites, and get refunds from the advertising networks. By doing so, they can protect their brand and their bottom line from the damaging effects of click fraud.