Who Clicks These Things?
“Does anyone actually click on these adverts?” This is a common question I hear when I discuss AdWords, or any PPC advertising, with someone for the first time. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ of course with Google tracking over 4 billion store visits from clicks on their ads. But not every click leads to a conversion and there are plenty of clicks that aren’t even intentional. So how does Google stop accidental clicks?
I’m Sorry, it Was an Accident!
An accidental click is exactly what you think it is. Typically accidental clicks will come from display ads, either on websites or, much more often, on mobile applications. These can either be by design, or ‘accidental’. Many app designers deliberately set up the user interface of their applications so adverts will overlap, or be close to buttons required to use the application. This results in ad revenue for their app and usually doesn’t annoy the user too much if the application was free.
But, it does damage the advertiser’s statistics in AdWords. They may see that SuperCoolGamez app is bringing in thousands of impressions and hundreds of clicks per week, but zero conversions. Not only is this a waste of the advertisers money, but if they don’t realise that these clicks are accidental, they may waste time trying to fix a non existent issue with their ads or landing pages.
Do Google Care?
This obviously has a knock on effect at Google. AdWords is Google’s biggest money earner so it’s important to them that it’s working well for both users and the advertisers. Over the years Google have improved their ad placements on display campaigns on websites greatly, and, in the last four years have also made efforts to improve placement on mobile applications too.
Part of these improvements has been the creation of native ads. Native ads are designed to blend into their environment better, so they won’t stick out as much as other ads. This gives the user a more natural experience while using an application, or website, but also means that some ‘accidental’ clicks are more likely. Although in this case an accidental click would not be a true accident. More of a misleading click.
But the main way they have dealt with accidental clicks is by automatically filtering them out.
How Do They Known What’s an Accident?
Speed is the first thing. If the click results in a pageview of less than 680ms it is ignored. Even a speed reader couldn’t read your landing page that quickly… Another way of filtering clicks is by filtering out clicks that haven’t been made fully on the button. For example if you half press a button with your finger, Google can tell how many pixels of the button you have pressed. If they think you haven’t pressed enough pixels, the click will be deemed as accidental.
After excluding fast clicks and edge clicks Google noticed dramatic improvements in ad performance, essentially proving them right and showing how the clicks had not had a real value beforehand.
People Do Click on The Ads
Have you run successful mobile ad display campaigns? We’d love to hear what successes (or failures) you’ve had using AdWords to advertise in mobile applications.
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