Running a campaign on Google Ads can be expensive. Even if you’re a small business, a successful PPC campaign can set you back hundreds or even thousands in ad spend.
However, almost 1 in every 5 clicks on Google Ads are fraudulent.
Whether it’s a fake click from your competitors or fraud rings attacking your ads, making sure you’re only paying for legitimate clicks should be your biggest concern.
Unfortunately, over the past decade, click fraud cases have been skyrocketing. Our ad fraud stats show that one in every five sites running ads is visited by bots. And every $5 you spend, you lose $1 to click fraud.
If you think you’ve experienced some fraudulent behavior on your campaigns, then you should consider filing a Google Ads refund request.
Even if you only suspect one or two clicks to be fraudulent, there’s no point paying for fake clicks right?
To request a refund from Google, there are a few steps you’ll need to follow before you can submit a request.
Having filed hundreds of Google Ads refund requests in the past, we have plenty of experience dealing with their refund team.
In this article, we’ll guide you through all the steps of submitting a refund and even give you a few tips to increase your chances of getting your request approved.
When Are You Eligible For A Refund?
Before you can request a refund from Google, you should make sure you have the right data available. This is crucial to your success.
You can submit a request on a periodic basis, but you’ll need to gather all available evidence before you make a claim.
Google will only provide you with a refund if it believes the data you provide is enough evidence to indicate invalid traffic.
If you send off your entire history of ad clicks to the search giant, this won’t work. In fact, it’ll significantly reduce your chances of getting a refund.
You’ll need to put the time and effort into sifting through your campaigns to determine what is, and isn’t click fraud. You can’t expect Google to spend their time sifting through thousands or tens of thousands of clicks!
Once you’re sure of your findings, you can submit your refund request. Just remember you can only do that once every 60 days, so ensuring you include all the correct data is vital.
Submitting Your Google Ads Refund Request
The first thing you’ll need to do for a Google Ads refund is to make sure you have as much data as possible.
But remember, you’ll need a specific type of data to add into Google’s form. It specifically asks for the following details:
- Your customer ID
- Start and end dates for fraudulent clicks
- The campaigns affected
- Ad groups and keywords affected
- If you’ve opted into Display/Search networks
- The ads you’ve had approved in the last month
- If you’ve increased your bids or budget
- Whether you’ve checked your account for invalid traffic
- An explanation of the issue
- A list of the IP addresses from fraudulent clickers
- Any suspicious display placements
You should also attach a copy of your tracking data (or weblogs) and supply your contact details.
As you can see, it’s a long list of information to get together. It’s time-consuming, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a refund at the end of the process. But if you’re looking to get your money back, unfortunately, this is the only way to request a refund.
Checking Your Server Logs
If you’re not currently using a third-party tracking service for your ads like Lunio, you might find the evidence you need harder to find.
As standard, Google Analytics and Google Ads don’t record the IP address of users who click your ads as they’re classed as personally identifiable information.
If you’re not using a third-party tracking service, then bad news, you’ll have to get the data the hard way.
Without tracking software, you’ll have to manually check your server logs and work out which traffic is coming to your site via Google Ads.
Once you can identify the users coming to your website via your ad campaigns, you can then start to look for repeating IP addresses.
These are the ones that pop up several times a day over and over. If you want to take to this step, you can gather the data in the following way.
Using An IP Lookup Tool
We suggest running the IPs you gather through an IP address lookup tool.
That’ll provide you with information such as their geographical location and if they’ve been included in any blacklists.
Some of the best tools for this are:
If the IP address shows up on several blacklists, there’s a good chance that the IP address has some suspicious behavior and could be linked to a botnet or fraud ring.
Once you’ve checked a few months of your server logs, you should have enough information to start filling out the refund request form.
Making sure you get the suspicious IP addresses is incredibly important.
Without them, you’re going to have a hard time convincing Google you’ve been the victim of click fraud.
And since you can only make a claim once every 60 days, it’s essential to present your findings in a thorough and complete way.
The Google Ads Refund Request Form
Once you have all your data ready, you need to head over to Google’s official refund form. The image below is exactly how it looks.
At this stage, it’s a case of following each step at a time. Fill out the sections carefully and double-check once you’ve entered them.
Then it’s a case of submitting the form and waiting for Google’s response.
It’s important you don’t get your hopes up during this stage. Remember, only 20-25% of claims will receive a refund.
Whether you receive a refund or not, you’ll also have to wait the mandatory 60 days until you make another claim.
During that time, click fraud will take place on your campaigns daily.
This can be very frustrating for businesses. Obviously, you’re busy, and you don’t want this malicious activity ruining your campaigns.
But there is a market-leading solution available to stop the issue immediately.
Don’t Rely On Refunds Only
Protecting your Google PPC ads from fraudulent clicks should be on the mind of any paid search marketer.
That’s whether you’re the head of the whole marketing department or a PPC manager.
You could be losing hundreds, or even thousands, a month to unwanted and undetected fraudulent clicks. And you may not even know about it.
Although Google says you’re protected (thanks to its invalid click detector), if you do some research you’ll be surprised at how many suspicious clicks you receive.
And with Google only refunding a tiny percentage of users (it’s between 20-25%), taking action to protect yourself from future fraudulent clicks is now crucial for your long-term success.
The good news is there’s already a solution on the market that stops all malicious activity.
Lunio is an automated click fraud detection and prevention service that monitors all of your ad clicks in real-time.
If any clicks are detected as fraudulent, Lunio instantly blocks the IP address. It’ll never see any of your ads in the future.
It helps massively with reducing the number of fraudulent clicks you’ll receive, saving you a big bunch of your budget (and a lot of your time).
To see how much money you could save every month on your Google PPC ads, sign up for a free 14-day trial and start saving.
Or you can book a Lunio demo to see the solution in action.