New research reveals fraudulent clicks costing Britain’s businesses almost half of their online advertising budget

Britain’s small businesses are falling victim to widespread online advertising fraud new research has revealed, with some sectors losing as much as £2000 per month to fraudulent clicks.

Ironically, locksmiths are the worst hit according to an analysis by click fraud prevention tool, Click Guardian. Cleaning companies, financial investment firms, phone repair services and window and doors suppliers are also seeing hundreds wiped off their monthly advertising budgets due to malicious clicks.

The Click Guardian research found that an approximate £2000 worth of clicks made on locksmith online ads are fraudulent – a figure equal to 40% of the total monthly spend. This means that almost half of the advertising budget will fail to yield leads or conversions.

Cleaning companies, who pay an average of £3.50 per click, should expect a quarter of the clicks they pay for to be fraudulent. Firms in the financial services sector are also heavily affected by click fraud, with one in six (16%) online ads offering investment opportunities coming under attack.  Even the humble man and van is not safe, with 12% of clicks on their ads classed as fraudulent – with an average cost of £3.50 per click, this is money that smaller firms can little afford to write off.

The conclusion that some firms are seeing almost half of their budget decimated by malicious clicks comes as further research finds that Google AdWords is now more expensive than ever, with a soaring cost per click that has smashed previous records.

Roy Dovaston, managing director of click fraud prevention service, Click Guardian said, “With cost per click rising, budgets are more stretched than ever so many industries will be shocked by just how little of their budget is actually being used on genuine clicks from potential leads. The more general a search term, the higher the cost of each click so the quicker a marketing budget is exhausted. With our research showing the prevalence of click fraud, it’s not a big leap to suggest that entire ad campaigns can be killed off before they’ve even really begun.

“The real concern is how much this is costing businesses across the country – especially those that can ill-afford to see a marketing budget squandered in the first place. While Google does have its own click fraud filter, this is not always effective and our research shows that a huge amount of malicious clicks still get through.  It’s absolutely crucial businesses use real-time prevention systems that can track and block imposters so real customers get to see the paid ads.”

The top 10 industries fond to be most susceptible to click fraud are:

Trade % of clicks that are fraudulent Avg cost per click
Locksmith 40% £7
Cleaning Companies 25% £3.50
Investments 16% £7.50
Security 16% £3.50
Phone Repairs 15% £3.50
Pest Control 14% £7
Windows/Doors/Conservatories 14% £5
Wrong Fuel 13% £7
Glazing 13% £5
Van & Man 12% £3.50


Click Guardian is a specialist click fraud detection and prevention tool for PPC agencies and individual advertisers. It stops competitors, bots and people excessively clicking on ads and can be managed via an online dashboard from a mobile or desktop device. Click Guardian works in real time to block fraudulent clicks and safeguard ad budget for genuine search users. To find out more, visit “