This is for you if you've been getting more junk/low-quality leads recently.
It might be conversion fraud.
You can spot conversion fraud because the leads have genuine email addresses and phone numbers but when you call them they don't remember filling in your form. They never visited your site and don't need what you sell. Often they're from outside your target area.
How conversion fraud works.
Google has a program - Google AdSense - that lets anyone display Google's ads on their website. You can recognise these ads from the caption ‘Ads by Google’.
The advertiser pays Google every time someone clicks an ad and Google shares some of the money with the website owner. The more times the ads are clicked the more money the website owner earns.
Caveat: the next couple of paragraphs are educated speculation.
Some website owners started clicking the ads on their websites. Google was able to identify these clicks and banned thousands of sites from the program. But, they didn't remove the incentive to make money by clicking the ads on your site.
Miscreants have exploited this opportunity at industrial scale. They've built tens of thousands of websites to host Google's ads. And they've programmed bots to click those ads all day long.
Google spends some effort identifying and stopping click fraud. But, it is an arms race. Google gets better at spotting bots, and so the baddies build smarter bots.
The bots responsible for your junk leads are very smart. They act a lot like humans on the internet. They click links, scroll up and down and they fill in enquiry forms with real names and phone numbers.
And that's where your genuine-looking-but-junk leads come from.
End of speculation.
I've seen people suggest that the best way to deal with junk leads is to filter them out when they fill in the form. They recommend things like:-
- Captcha (where you prove you're a human by clicking on pictures that contain things or decoding jumbled letters).
- A hidden form field a.k.a. honeypot.
- Or adding more questions to your enquiry form. (Popular but wrong.)
These work but I think you should do something about bots before you've paid Google to send them to your site.
Don’t fish in the sewer.
The answer is not to advertise where people get paid for clicking your ads. At the time of writing (November 2022) this means excluding your ads from the display network.
Regular search campaigns allow you to exclude the display network but Performance Max campaigns don't.
If you're getting junk leads from Performance Max campaigns it might be pausing them till Google has solved this problem.
But, as with everything in PPC, the best option depends on your specific circumstances. If you know how many genuine leads (as opposed to junk leads) you're getting , and the cost per genuine lead is attractive, keep doing what's working.
Want to increase your conversion rate? For free?
I’ve seen conversion rates double, triple and even 10X
after a few quick and easy changes to the enquiry form.
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