How to Claim a Google Ads Refund for Invalid Clicks
Marketing | July 07, 2023
So you’re getting loads of clicks on your ads, but not seeing as many conversions as you think you should be getting. Looking closer, you realize that you’re seeing quite a high IVT percentage in your Google Ads dashboard.
If you haven’t run an audit on your Google ads with CHEQ Essentials, you can do this for free with our 7 day free trial.
Most marketers who run an audit with CHEQ Essentials are shocked at the levels of bouncing bots, out-of-geo clicks, and repetitive IP addresses they see on their campaigns.
Surely you shouldn’t be paying for this kind of invalid traffic on your Google Ads?
Well, actually, there are processes to claim a Google Ads refund for invalid traffic, or IVT as it’s often called.
The marketing industry is increasingly aware of the problem of invalid traffic, often referred to as click fraud or ad fraud. And with this awareness comes a series of questions.
What is this traffic? Shouldn’t Google be blocking these fraudulent clicks? Can I get my money back for these invalid clicks? And how?
Well, we can answer all of the above…
What is invalid traffic?
Put very simply, invalid traffic is any form of click on a paid ad that has zero chance of converting to a genuine paying customer.
This can be an accidental click from a human, perhaps on a badly placed banner, or clicking the same search result twice. Or it can also be a bot, web crawler, or click from a malware (e.g. virus) source.
Essentially, these clicks can’t become customers, but they do cost you money. And they can add up quickly too.
So how can you work out if you need to claim a Google Ads refund for invalid traffic?
Does Google block invalid traffic?
Yes, Google does filter invalid traffic and process some of these IVT claims automatically. Some obvious sources of invalid traffic are refunded instantly, for example, double clicks from the same source.
But the bigger problem of invalid traffic, aka click fraud, shows that the majority of advertisers are paying a substantial extra sum to fake clicks missed by Google’s filters.
In fact, here at CHEQ Essentials, our data shows that approximately 15% of all clicks on paid ads are non-genuine.
And when you factor in that 90% of all Google Ads campaigns see some level of click fraud, you can start to see the bigger picture.
You can check your invalid traffic in your Google Ads account. However, this will simply show the volume that Google has flagged and not the insight and detail that you get with CHEQ Essentials.
Do I need to claim a Google refund for fake clicks?
You’re reading this article, so you probably know something isn’t right with your Google Ads.
But can you prove it?
Before you start any refund request process you’ll need to analyze your ad campaigns. You’re going to need to present specific evidence of fake traffic to have any sort of valid claim for a refund.
This will include highlighting suspicious activity and isolating the clicks you think should be refunded.
Here’s what you’re looking out for:
- Surges in traffic, possibly at unusual times
- High bounce rates, often together with traffic surges
- Multiple clicks from the same IP address
- Clicks from outside of your geo-targeted areas
If you’re using CHEQ Essentials, you’ll be able to see a detailed breakdown of traffic sources and activity.
We block most sources of click fraud proactively, so if you are using our service you might find that you’re already saving money on fake clicks.
But we also highlight clicks for your attention, which you can inspect closely. In this case, if you spot something such as repeat IP address clicks, you can block them moving forward and apply for a refund for the previous clicks.
How to claim money back for invalid clicks
If you’re ready to enter the details of your invalid traffic refund claim, you can head to Google’s click quality form.
The refund form is pretty self-explanatory, with requests for:
- Keywords affected
- Suspicious IP addresses
- Requests for weblogs or images of analysis
Once you’ve completed the refund form, you send it off and…. Wait. Patiently.
There are no guarantees that Google will refund a penny. But to stop further problems with invalid clicks on your ads, here at CHEQ Essentials we offer a free trial of our service. This will make sure you don’t waste more money on click fraud while you’re waiting to see if Google will refund you.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are a number of genuine issues with either your website, landing pages, campaigns, or ads that can be attributed to suspicious traffic and poor ad performance.
Is it really invalid traffic?
As Google outlines in their ‘about invalid traffic’ pages, not everything that appears to be IVT is necessarily IVT.
There are many things that can also cause poor ad performance, including high bounce rates and low conversions. So it’s also worth double-checking the landing pages that are running on your PPC ad campaigns to make sure they’re working properly.
Factors that might distort your ad performance include:
- Poorly optimized landing pages
- Not using landing pages
- The site is not optimized for mobile
- Bad design, such as overlapping buttons or non-functioning elements
- Low-quality images
- Slow loading pages
These are just a few of the factors that can really throw a big spanner in your PPC ads. So before you process that Google ads refund claim form, make 100% sure that it’s not your site.
How often can I claim a Google Ads refund?
There are no restrictions on when or how many times you can request a refund for invalid clicks. However, it can be a lengthy process while you await a verdict.
And, as we mentioned, there are no guarantees that you’ll even get a refund from Google.
Make sure to monitor your PPC ads for suspicious traffic. And if it seems to be an ongoing problem look at tweaking your ads. Sometimes changing your keyword targeting or campaign timing you can avoid certain types of click fraud activity.
There is an easier way to protect against IVT though…
Automatic protection against invalid clicks.
Blocking click fraud in real time is the best way to avoid having to process refund claim forms for your Google Ads. After all, who really has the spare time to sit down and work out which clicks you shouldn’t have been charged for?
With over 27% of internet traffic being invalid (according to a recent study for 2022), it could be a lot to go through. But, knowing that this costs businesses up to $42 billion lost per year, it’s definitely a matter worth your attention.
At CHEQ Essentials we have the industry-leading automatic click fraud prevention software for Google Ads and other major ad platforms.
We can also process your Google ads refund request for clicks that didn’t get blocked.
How it works
CHEQ Essentials blocks bad clicks on your Google Ads in real time. Our machine learning algorithms are constantly updating our blocklists with sources of fraud, including botnets, malware, and fraudulent behavior.
Users can also update their own Google Ads blocklist from CHEQ Essentials, adding IP addresses, repeat clicks, and other sources of invalid clicks.
You can run an audit on your ad campaigns for free for 7 days. You’ll get superhero level insight into your ad performance, including seeing which keywords attract fraud clicks, who’s clicking, and when.
Protect your Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ad campaigns with CHEQ Essentials.