Prevent Click Fraud & Protect Your PPC Campaigns. ClickCease & More!

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Search Engine Advertising had been around since 2000 with the launch of Google AdWords (Now called Google Ads). With that comes exploitation of click attribution, that is the system where advertisers were charged for every click recorded (aka Pay-Per-Click, or PPC). This was an issue not only for the end user advertisers and search engine operating companies, but also with digital and marketing agencies who offered digital marketing services.

Image Source: Getty Images

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Hence, several companies had developed solutions in software that prevent fraudulent and unwanted clicks. Though still a relatively young WorkTech, there exist quite a few click protection software. Thus, we are going to review some of these today to understand their key features, and how they can be beneficial for any PPC advertisers. There is ONE freemium software, so do take note and take advantage to try it out. Nevertheless, here goes our list starting with ClickCease:

  1. ClickCease
  2. ClickGUARD
  3. Clixtell
  4. Improvely
  5. PPC Protect
  6. TrafficGuard

1. ClickCease

ClickCease Interface
Image Source: ClickCease

An Israeli startup founded in 2014. It was acquired by Israel-based cybersecurity firm called CHEQ AI Technologies in 2020 and had since operated under their umbrella of software products. Despite still a relatively young organisation, ClickCease had already protected more than 2 million PPC campaigns worldwide! The software is recognised for its excellent functionality, and ease of use frequently across popular review sites such as Capterra and Trustpilot. Care to know more? You certainly should! Read on.

Key Features

  • Targeted Fraud Protection via Filtering
  • Works With Many Website Hosts
  • Support Refund from Google with Click Fraud Report

Buy Factor

  • ClickCease’s advanced machine learning algorithms not only blocks out fraudulent clicks from any sources automatically. Such as from bots, competitors, or just accidental. What about fraudulent IPs that ClickCease did not detect? No worries! As long as you spotted it, you can customise and prevent such IP addresses, geographic regions, and even devices to click on your PPC Ads! Just add it to the blacklist for a set period, or just permanently!
  • How is your website being hosted? Is it WordPress, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, or even Weebly? Good news because ClickCease works with all of them and many others! There is totally no concern on this since installation of ClickCease is done via pasting the HTML tracking code. Once again, the installation is simple and ClickCease have ready ‘How-to’ resources for this. All you need is to get started!
  • So, what if you had managed to spot fraudulent clicks? Well, you can request a refund from Google! Above all, you can get a report from ClickCease to help you in your case! Just navigate to ‘Tools’, then ‘Refund Claims’ to download the report. Its just easy! No more wastage, and every penny counts!

Things to Note

  • The PPC protection is for Google and Microsoft Ads (aka Bing Ads) only. No protection possible for Facebook, or any other social media, or search engine advertising.
  • Supports Microsoft and Google Ads.

Pricing (annual subscription basis)

  • Standard (US$ 40/mth) – Up to 5k Clicks Protection for 1 Domain. Full Blocking, Detection, Analytics, and Adspy Features Except No Cross-Domain Blocking.
  • *Pro (US$ 60/mth) – Up to 10k Clicks Protection for Unlimited Domains. Full Features with Cross-Domain Blocking and a Dedicated Account Manager.

*The Pro Plan Can Be Adjusted for a Higher Number of Click Protection. Pricing will Vary According to the Number Required

  • 7-Day Free Trial Available.

2. ClickGUARD

ClickCease Alternative: ClickGUARD
Image Source: ClickGUARD

Founded on 2016 in California, US. ClickGUARD is a product developed out of the founder’s frustration with click fraud. The software value-add by providing more than just click protection in several useful ad campaign tools. At a glance, it has protected over 65k campaigns in over 107 countries. Furthermore, in just 2019 alone, it recorded a total savings of US$ 32 million for their users! Interesting? Excited? Curious? Find out below.

Key Features

  • Click Tagging Supports Campaign Optimisation
  • Multi-Level Rule Protection
  • Real-Time Post-Click On-Site Analysis

Buy Factor

  • ClickGUARD value-adds as a PPC protection provider by taking a ‘business’ approach. Similar to others such as ClickCease, ClickGUARD protects against PPC fraud by tagging fraudulent clicks as ‘fraudulent’. Yet, they also allow users to tag clicks as ‘abusive’, ‘disruptive’, or ‘unwanted’ to prevent such clicks accordingly. Thus, campaign ROI, or ROAS (return on Ad spent), is optimised, not just achieving costs savings.
  • With ClickGUARD, users can target their desired Ad audience better with multi-level rule setting. Hence, users can set based on the Campaign level, AdGroup level, or even Keyword level. This multi-level approach to protection supports even greater ROAS, by eliminating all kinds of undesired clicks. Then again, the only way this can work is with users putting effort into setting up, trial-and-error, and constant tweaking.
  • The moment someone click on your Ad, ClickGUARD automatically analyses its mouse movements, time spent, and pages visited. The insights from this will help users to determine possible undesired visits resulting in clicks. Such as those from accidental, or bots. Once again, you can truly optimise your PPC campaign performance with ClickGUARD.

Things to Note

  • ClickGUARD automatically stop processing subsequent clicks once the number of click exceeded the plan’s limit. Nonetheless, it will notify you once the limit is close.
  • Works for Google Ads only. Does not work for Microsoft Ads although it can still record clicks and analytics form Bing Search Engine.

Pricing (annual subscription basis for 5k Clicks)

  • ActiveGUARD (US$ 47/mth) – Unlimited Ad Campaigns, Domains, & Team Members. Full Reporting & Analytics, Behaviour Tracking, and Fraud Automation Features. Only Campaign & AdGroup Rules Filtering with Mostly only 5 Rules Per Type Allowed.
  • PremiumGUARD (US$ 63/mth) – Everything in ActiveGUARD With All Rules Filtering Such as Keyword, Device, Country, Region etc. Most Rule Type Allow 10 each. Limited API Access & Priority Customer Support.
  • EliteGUARD (US$ 79/mth) – Everything in PremiumGUARD With Unlimited Rule Type Settings. Full API Access & On-Demand Data Audits and Setup Support.
  • 7-Day Trial Free.

3. Clixtell

ClickCease Alternative: Clixtell
Image Source: Clixtell

Clixtell is another California, US, company but founded slightly later in 2017. California, US, company but founded slightly later in 2017. The company offers several product lines in call tracking and website video recorder in addition to click fraud protection. Nonetheless, it has incorporated the video recorder function into all their paid plans while call tracking are available as a separate add-on. That’s not all! Clixtell is also the only one in our list to have its own mobile app version. So, you must definitely know more. Read on and find out!

Key Features

  • Works for ‘Click-to-Call’ Campaigns
  • Video Screen Recorder
  • Android & Mac Supported Mobile App

Buy Factor

  • A very useful feature that other Click Fraud Protection Providers including ClickCease do not have is the ability to track Ad campaigns that leads to phone calls instead of website. Hence with Clixtell, the software provides a local number that helps it track, record, and provide analytics on clicks that leads to call. Then, users can determine if those clicks are fraudulent and blocks them automatically in the future. Thereafter, this feature can also be used to block out clicks that do not lead to calls, giving better ROAS!
  • Clixtell is also able to record the screen of their visitors that clicked on the ad. Then, users will be able to review and analyse the video to understand about their visitors’ on-site behaviour. So, anything from movements of the mouse, areas clicked, and even text keyed can be noted for future Ad campaign improvements! Ad optimisation and protection definitely go hand-in-hand!
  • Telecommuting? Working on-the-go? Regardless, Clixtell’s App version is available from any of their paid plans. If you are an Ad agency, then you know how useful it is to be able to provide the stats immediately to your asking clients. It just reinforces trust and build lasting partnership. If not, it is always useful to be able to work on-the-go because a minute saved outside is a minute saved for home spend.

Things to Note

  • Similar to ClickCease, works for Google and Microsoft Ads.
  • The Click-to-Call protection features are available as an add-on at an additional fee of US$ 10 per month. This is not required if you do not have or intend to create such campaigns.

Pricing (annual subscription basis)

  • Basic (US$ 12/mth) – Up to 5k Click Protection. Click Monitoring, Detection, & Keyword Tracking. Visitor On-Site Analytics. Daily or Weekly Reports via Email.
  • Standard (US$ 40/mth) – Everything in Basic with 10k Click Protection. In-Built Machine Learning Capabilities. Advanced IP Range Blocker, VPNs & Proxies Blocker, & Device Blocker. Refund Claim Reports & Click Block Notifications in Mobile App.
  • *Agency (US$ 75/mth) – Everything in Standard Plus Cross-Domain & Multiple Google Account Protection. User Access Settings. Account Manager Interface.

*The Agency Plan can be adjusted for higher number of click protections at increasing charges.

  • Free Trial for 14 Days.

4. Improvely

ClickCease Alternative: Improvely
Image Source: Improvely

Another product of US origin. Improvely is developed by Awio Web Services, a company that also make website tools and widgets. It is currently used by over 7k marketers from organisations and agencies. Compared to others in this list, Improvely offers a unique affiliate marketing tool. Nevertheless, describing accurately by writing is an art that can never out-perform experiencing it. We say, read what we got to say about Improvely below, then try out their Live Demo Here.

Key Features

  • Tracks All Click Source, Not Just from PPC Ads
  • Support in Building ‘Buyer Personas’
  • Affiliate Marketing Tools

Buy Factor

  • Improvely tracks and protect clicks from all sources whether be it PPC, organic search, social media, emails etc. Being able to so means users are able to obtain a holistic view (and to a certain extent, more accurate and comprehensive view) into their website clicks. The analytics obtained includes but not limited to channel, referrer, source, keyword, device, country, day etc. can help shed light into visitor profiles, and reaction in response to certain marketing campaigns. The analytics could also be used for all kinds of marketing campaigns not limited to PPC. The possibilities are endless! Think social media, billboards, web banners, emails etc.
  • That said, Improvely can certainly be used to help users understand and build their buyer personas, otherwise also called, their perfect customer. Then, users can make use of this buyer persona to similarly create effective campaigns, shape their customer support, and also develop their products accordingly. Thus, see Improvely as not just a security tool, but a business essential! Especially if you are not using any such tools now, we say; Start exploring!
  • Besides, Improvely also supports your Affiliate Program Marketing (very useful if you have one!). That is, users can use it to track which affiliate link on their site that is most popular, and are generating the revenue. Improvely integrates readily with dozens of Affiliate Programs Networks such as ClickBank and ShareASale so you do not have to worry about not being able to support. In addition, it is able to ‘hide’ affiliate links so that the URL and title bar of the webpage look professional.

Things to Note

  • Each paid plan can track unlimited websites/domains. The only limitation is the plan’s number of website visits.
  • This software ‘charges’ by the number of website visits instead of number of clicks like others such as ClickCease. While this can be useful in providing an all-round click protection to the website, clicks from your email subscribers, who are otherwise ‘white-listed’, would also be tracked. This eats into the monthly website visits limit. Although Improvely only counts unique visits. It should be noted if there are any possibilities to ‘white-list’ such clicks first, or any settings to ensure such unique visits do not expire. Check with their customer support.

Pricing (per month)

  • Freelancer (US$ 29) – Tracks Up to 10k Website Visits. 1 Team Member. Track Conversions, Click Monitoring, A/B Testing, and Affiliate Marketing Tools.
  • Startup (US$ 79) – Tracks Up to 50k Website Visits. 3 Team Members. All Tools in Freelancer Plan.
  • Small Agency (US$ 149) – Tracks Up to 100k Website Visits. Unlimited Team Members. All Tools in Freelancer Plan, Plus Sub-Accounts.
  • Large Agency (US$ 299+) – Tracks Up to 250k Website Visits. Unlimited Team Members. Everything in Small Agency Plan, Plus White-Label Reporting.
  • 14-Days Free Trial Available.

Improvely

5. PPC Protect

ClickCease Alternative: PPC Protect
Image Source: PPC Protect

A UK firm with presences in two other countries in US, and Israel. PPC Protect is founded in 2016. It is used by over 35k Google Ad accounts, to protect more than 650k ad campaigns. Additionally, if you are curious about their clients, you will be assured to know that big brands such as Europcar, Norwegian Air Shuttle, and Nike uses it. Henceforth, what does PPC Protect offer that makes them so attractive to global brands? Read on further.

Key Features

  • Automated Click Threat LevelTM Detection
  • GDPR and CCPA Compliant
  • Unlimited Click Protections, Users & Domains

Buy Factor

  • PPC Protect uses a detection technology powered by AI and machine learning. The technology works on the back end to automatically monitor clicks, collects the required data of the click (e,g. IP, device, location etc.), then passes it through their algorithm for analysis before ranking them for action to block or allow. The technology can bypass Google Ad’s 500 IP limit, and block as many fraudulent, and unwanted clicks as desired.
  • Accessing only via their fully audited API, PPC Protect ensures that data collected from clicks remain safe and secure. Moreover, it supports data security and user privacy by being to be audited at any time. So, companies with strict corporate data and privacy policies can rest assured knowing this essential portion of security are covered!
  • With any paid plan, users of PPC Protect can connect any number of domains and have all their users using it. PPC Protect does not limit protection to any click numbers! It’s like a single plan for one company, resulting in huge costs savings compared to plans that have limitations on the number of users, domains or clicks.

Things to Note

  • Price point is high since it provides unlimited domains, users, and click protection. Suitable for large MNCs, or agencies handling multiple accounts.
  • Does not work with Microsoft Ads.

Pricing

  • Growth (Starts from US$ 240/mth) – Eligible For Ad Spent Up to US$ 40k Per Month. Unlimited Domains, Ad Click Protection & Ad Accounts Sync. Traffic Categorisation.
  • Business (Not Defined) – Eligible For Ad Spent Above US$ 40k Per Month. Everything in Growth Plus User Permissions, Custom SLA, & Dedicated Account Manager.
  • Agency (Not Defined) – For Agencies Only. Everything in Business Plus Brand Logo Dashboard, & White Label Reports.
  • Try Free for 14 Days.

6. TrafficGuard

ClickCease Alternative: TrafficGuard
Image Source: TrafficGuard

Founded in 2015 and subsidiary to a publicly-listed company in Australia. TrafficGuard is highly recognised for its analytics and anti-fraud features, having won several awards and accolades since 2018. It boasts a client base comprising GoJek, Glu Mobile, and Bukalapak among many others. Most notably, TrafficGuard is the only one in our list to offer a free plan. Yes, you read it right! So, read the rest of this article then try out TrafficGuard! The world of PPC protection starts here!

Key Features

  • Free Plan Supports SMEs, Start Ups and Freelancers
  • Custom Exclusion Possible
  • Real-Time Dashboards & Analytics

Buy Factor

  • Freemium software is always popular and a first step to loyal customers. With a free plan, TrafficGuard provides a head start for SMEs, and users looking to try click protection. Their free plan, Protect PPC, provides monitoring, detection, analytics and reporting for Google Ads. Above all, users will definitely benefit by having the chance to see, and learn on the way without incurring any costs. However, taking a free plan is possible only for Google Ads spent of US$ 2.5k or below.
  • Like others in this list including ClickCease, TrafficGuard allow custom exclusion rules. The exclusion can be of IPs, devices, location and more. Henceforth, being able to do so means protection against unwanted clicks as well, not just fraudulent. Know a particular multiple clicks from one will not convert? Exclude it!
  • Similarly, TrafficGuard also offer real-time dashboard and analytics. These features support swift decision-making, resulting in higher performance and better results. Besides, whenever you can log in, you can work on-the-go, letting you make full use of any idle time. Fast paced society you say? We will catch up!

Things to Note

  • The Protect PPC (Free) plan does not offer any automatic blocking. It only provides the analytics to help users understand about the clicks and which can potentially be fraudulent. Users can however complement this by using the analytics, then manually adding to blacklists in Google Ads.
  • The only paid plan, PPC Protect Pro, is priced at 2% of Google Ads spending. The costs can add quickly for large organisations, or agencies handling a huge number of accounts. Then again, are there unlimited click protection? Also, does multi-users, and domains mean unlimited? Check with TrafficGuard customer support!

Pricing

  • Protect PPC (Free for Up to US$ 2.5k Google Ads Spent Only) – 1 User & 1 Domain. Traffic Monitoring & Detection. Analytics & Reporting.
  • Protect PPC Pro (2% of Google Ads Spending) – Multiple Users & Domains. Everything in Protect PPC Plus Blocking for Known-Host IP, IPs, and Range. Real-Time Fraud Mitigation, Custom Rules, & Conversion Tracking. Priority Email Support.

trafficguard

Final Comments

Click fraud are highly damaging to any PPC campaigns. However, there are solutions in click protection software such as ClickCease which we had reviewed. Of course, the question now is to ask yourself; how much is the loss from click fraud vs costs for the software. If it costs less to use click protection, then we have a clear decision to take up PPC protection.

Nonetheless, we also wish to point out that there is no harm in taking a free trial, or free plan. As marketers, it will be tremendous learning experience to have used this tech, and will certainly go a long way for your future digital marketing journey. For the digital agencies, you should try PPC protection too as a way to value-add your services to your clients. They will be pleased to know you are catching up with times too. Try it!

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