Fuel Ventures invests £2m in PPC Protect.

Fuel Ventures are delighted to invest £2m in the Bolton based Ad and Click Fraud monitoring and prevention software business, PPC Protect.

Who are PPC Protect?

PPC Protect offers an all in one solution to identify and block click fraud (including: click fraud and ad fraud). Existing solutions merely identify and block click fraud after you have been susceptible to fraudulent activity. PPC Protect offers a real-time, automated solution that monitors PPC ads in real time and determines if each individual click is legitimate or fraudulent, saving advertisers and marketers a considerable amount of their ad spend, as well as saving money and getting more relevant, high quality traffic that can lead to a lower cost per acquisition.

What are the different types of Ad Fraud?

Click fraud

Refers to any click on your paid links that are not genuine and are often malicious

That is, if you’re paying to show at the top of Google or Bing, a fraudulent party may click on your paid links with the aim of depleting your budget and removing you from the paid results. It also applies to fraudulent clicks on display ads or banners.

Ad fraud

Your paid ads, usually in banner or video format, are hosted on a website that is designed to capitalize on ad payout.

E.g. an unscrupulous marketer will make a website designed to host multiple ads (such as yours) and then channel fake traffic through it to collect the payout on clicks or impressions. You as the marketer, however, pay for lots of clicks and get zero leads or customers

Click spoofing, spamming & injection

These apply mostly to apps and mobile traffic. It is normally undertaken by an app that is made to generate fake clicks on a device in the hope of collecting the payout for genuine organic installs or clicks. You, the marketer, may get a genuine customer, but your data will look like you had a huge amount of clicks and the fraudster will collect a payout even from organic installs they have no claim to.

How big is the problem?

Over the past year we have probably seen one of the largest digital migrations in the history of the internet, obviously accelerated by the pandemic which shaped the majority of 2020. As more businesses have totally switched their marketing and advertising strategy online, the fraudulent rate at which pay-per-click advertising has risen almost hand in hand.

Studies find that 14% of all clicks on your campaigns are invalid. Existing solutions only identify and block click fraud after the fraud has occurred, meaning businesses are still spending time and money, as well as facing long battles to prove the traffic is fake.

In 2020 alone, the total fraud was estimated to be $23bn and is expected to reach $50bn in the coming years. According to PPC Protect’s report, 11% of search clicks and 17% of clicks associated with connected TV campaigns were fraudulent. PPC Protect handled over one billion ad interactions in the last 12 months. The report also found out that 38% of fraudulent activity is through automated bots and bot fraud. The company says that criminal gangs are investing heavily in sophisticated bots to do their dirty work without having to lift a finger.

Imagine saying to your boss that you wasted 14% of your advertising budget?

eCommerce campaigns are expected to lose $3.8 billion to PPC fraud in 2020, according to the study; travel, $2.6 billion; education, $830million; legal, $193million and medical and health campaigns, $196 million.

Neil Andrew, founder, and CEO of PPC Protect said, “Despite the impact of Covid-19, digital ad spend still increased 2.4% in 2020 to a record $332bn as consumers turn to the web in their masses to stay informed, in touch, and entertained. For fraudsters, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. With little effort, they can defraud small, independent businesses relying on online ad spend to increase their presences out of tens of thousands of pounds a year. We are handling huge volumes of ad traffic to make sure these businesses are protected and with this new investment we can explore how our solution stays one step ahead of more sophisticated ad fraud tactics and expand internationally.”

Who are the groups susceptible to this fraud?

Aside from any business advertising online, many of you who may not have expected to be victims are actually high value targets. Local, on demand businesses such as: locksmiths, dentists, plumbers etc actually have really high numbers of click fraud cases because on-demand and local services often have a high cost-per-click and relatively fierce local competition.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on online advertising fraud, claims PPC Protect. The report states that the educational industry upped their spending on online advertising, which fueled a rise in fraudulent activity and payouts for click-fraudsters.

PPC Protect found that as a result education saw the highest rates of click fraud with 31% of clicks being invalid. Furthermore, healthcare also hit hard as click fraud grew by 53% for healthcare advertisers.

Who are PPC Protect?

The PPC Protect team consists of: Neil Andrew (founder & CEO), previously the head of Organic Search at Piccana Ltd (SEO for agencies). Segev Hochberg (COO), a former systems engineer with a strong background in e-commerce. CTO, Matthew, has had a strong background in software development as well as significant contracts and training in the cybersecurity sector. Alex Winston (CDO) has extensive creative design abilities and is responsible for all aspects of design, branding and product UX. Andrew Flock (Head of Sales), has headed sales at several large B2B software companies including Accesspalnit and Engage Solutions.

Mark Pearson, founder, and managing partner of Fuel Ventures added, “Neil and the PPC Protect team are at the frontline of the click fraud prevention space and built the first truly automated cybersecurity-driven fraud detection engine that stops bad traffic and fake clicks. They are a security-first not adtech-first firm and their priority on keeping businesses safe is paramount. We are excited to be backing this innovative company with excellent leadership.”

If you are an entrepreneur or startup and you are looking for funding, get in touch and email your deck to alexb@fuel.ventures.

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