How to Get a Refund For Invalid Clicks From Google Ads

google ads refund

Ad fraud still remains a major problem for advertisers with losses estimated to reach $100 billion per year by 2023, according to Juniper Research.

Detecting fraud can be difficult, however if click behavior or lead data captured is highly unusual and performance is extremely poor then it may have been from an invalid, or fraudulent, source.

Here’s are the step-by-step directions to receive a refund from Google for any ad fraud occurring in your Google Ads campaigns.

What are invalid clicks?

Invalid clicks, also commonly referred to as “click fraud” or “ad fraud,” are clicks that are suspected to be fraudulent.

Invalid clicks often are the result of malicious activity from bots, click farms or other sources that are designed to generate revenue from advertisers entirely from clicking ads with no intent to purchase a product. Clicks from competitors or accidental clicks by consumers can also be considered invalid.

Google uses these criteria of invalid clicks to be considered eligible for a refund:

  • Accidental clicks that have no value, such as the second click of a double-click
  • Manual clicks meant to increase someone’s advertising costs
  • Manual clicks meant to increase profits for website owners hosting your ads
  • Clicks and impressions by automated tools, robots, or other deceptive software
  • Impressions meant to artificially lower an advertiser’s clickthrough rate (CTR)

Read more about invalid clicks.

How do I identify invalid clicks?

Identifying invalid clicks can be very difficult as clicks from malicious bots or click farms can be made to look entirely organic.

Google recommends reviewing IP addresses, interaction times on your site (such as traffic with zero time on page), and duplicate interactions to try and identify if the traffic was invalid. This can be difficult, but worth the refund if your traffic behavior is clearly erroneous.

To help give you a sense of the volume of invalid traffic in your current campaigns, Google Ads provides this information inside your dashboard. These can be viewed by adding the columns shown below to your standard campaign reports.

Example of invalid clicks in Google Ads reporting

Does Google Ads give refunds for invalid clicks?

Yes!

Google automatically provides a refund for clicks they identified as invalid in their Invalid Clicks data (see image above). These refunds are periodically shown as credits in your billing transactions.

Sample of automatic refund from invalid clicks billing area of Google Ads

However, Google doesn’t capture all of the invalid/fraud traffic to your site so you should consider filing with Google to receive an additional refund if you have an erroneous traffic or performance to your site (see above section: “How to Identify Invalid Clicks?“).

How do I get a refund from Google for invalid clicks?

In order to file a claim, Google Ads users will need to complete Google’s Click Quality Form.

The form asks for a lot of detailed information on the traffic so Google can analyze it themselves. This includes information such as IP addresses, web logs, tracking or analytics issues, a summary of the findings and more.

Here’s a partial sample of some of the core information you’ll need to provide:

Part of Google’s refund request form

Once you complete the form and submit it, you may need to wait a while (it can often be weeks before you receive a response).

Also, keep in mind, Google states on their website that not all traffic that appears to be invalid, is necessarily invalid. Bad leads and poorly performing traffic could be the result of broken or poorly designed landing pages, incorrect final URLs, poor targeting, no product-market fit, etc.

There’s no assurance that Google will give a refund, but it can be worth trying. Just make sure the issue you’re experiencing is not a problem on your site, but is truly the impact of bots or accidental clicks, etc. It’s also worth remembering that suspicious traffic and bad ad performance might be caused by a variety of legitimate problems with one’s website, landing pages, campaigns, or ads.

How can I prevent invalid clicks before they happen?

Fraud Blocker is an independent click fraud service that detects and blocks bots, malware and other invalid traffic sources in real-time, 24/7.

By using our platform you’ll save on wasted invalid ad clicks and avoid the need to regularly submit to Google Ads for a refund since we block many of the malicious sources before they can be clicked on by them.

Using our service and want to apply for a refund anyway? Not a problem. Simply export the list of invalid IPs we detected from our reports dashboard and then upload those to Google’s Click Quality Form.

Best of luck!

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