Prevent invalid clicks and impressions

How Google prevents invalid activity

Our specialists carefully monitor clicks and impressions on Google ads in order to protect your interests as well as those of advertisers. To do this, we use both automated systems and human reviews, analyzing all ad clicks and impressions for any invalid traffic that may artificially drive up an advertiser's costs or a publisher's earnings.

Google's proprietary technology analyzes clicks and impressions to detect invalid traffic. Our system uses sophisticated filters to distinguish between activity generated through normal use by users and activity that may pose a risk to advertisers, and advertisers are not charged for this activity.

Some examples of this activity include clicks or impressions generated by unethical users, automated robots and traffic sources, and publishers encouraging clicks on their ads. Our system allows us to filter out most invalid clicks and impressions, and advertisers are not charged for this activity.

In addition to our automated systems, we have a team dedicated to the detection of invalid activity. The team uses several specialized tools and a wide variety of techniques based on extensive experience tracking and monitoring user behavior and analyzing scenarios. We continually upgrade our detection mechanisms to proactively combat invalid activity.

Additional safeguards

To help further minimize your risk, we have integrated with HUMAN, which serves as an extra safety check for our invalid traffic defenses. This additional safeguard requires no configuration or changes from you.

Publisher Controls

To further limit potential fraud and abuse, Google Ad Manager does not offer publishers the ability to disable the use of the browser’s Trust Tokens API during the Chrome Origin Trial.

How you can prevent invalid activity

While we have strong systems in place to detect invalid traffic, it's equally important that all publishers regularly review their traffic and ad implementations. Ensure that your ad implementation complies with our program policies and that you haven’t paid for traffic from an unreliable source. Finally, we encourage you to use the Invalid Clicks Contact Form to report any suspicious activity on your sites or apps.

Tips to help you prevent invalid traffic on your ads

  • Understand your ad traffic and site visitors

    Break down your traffic reports into meaningful segments using URL channels, custom channels, or ad units. This will help you gauge how changes to traffic sources or implementation can affect your ad traffic.

    Next, use Google Analytics to get detailed information about your site visitors, and be on the lookout for any suspicious user behavior. Consider questions such as “Where are my users from, either geographically or on the internet?” or “Which pages do they view on my site?” to understand your traffic.

  • Avoid partnering with untrusted/low-quality parties

    Some publishers have had issues with invalid traffic when partnering with low-quality ad networks, search engines, or directory sites in efforts to increase traffic to their site. You should learn more about purchasing traffic and review the traffic provider checklist to help guide discussions about partnering with potential providers.

  • Don’t click on your own ads, even if you think it’s okay to do so

    Even if you’re interested in an ad or looking for its destination URL, clicking on your own ads is still prohibited. Keep in mind that even when we filter clicks on your own ads, we don't ignore those clicks completely; if it appears that a publisher has been clicking on their own ads to inflate their earnings or an advertiser's costs, we may disable the account to protect our advertisers.

  • Understand invalid traffic detection and filtration methodology

    Familiarize yourself with our invalid traffic detection and filtration methodology.

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