I seem to have encountered a bit of a click fraud (invalid click) issue with my Shopify's Google Shopping Ad campaign, and it's racking up my Ad bill.
Their activity seems to be very weird but exaggerated, they don't just click on the Ad then leave. They enter my site through a Google Shopping Ad, then they add the product to their basket, browse the website; page by page, literally through everything, privacy page, terms and conditions, other products, everything in a random order. Then they enter the checkout, create an account, enter shipping details - then leave with an abandoned cart, with zero payment attempts.
This has happened about 27 times today since I've started advertising in other countries.
It made me think maybe my payment gateway is glitching, but I tested a small transaction with Shopify Payments and PayPal etc with no problems.
I checked further into the abandoned carts and discovered they've all got a pattern. All their details are different, even their addresses in different countries; all 27 accounts different apart from 2 common number additions in their email addresses. (for example; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com....and so on...).
It would be nice to find out how to block this nuisance, I'm only just starting up and it's hurting a could-be potentially okay conversion rate and my initial ranking on Google Search; but I'm not gonna make it at this rate!! Google apparently blocks invalid clicks automatically, but they must be the really really obvious ones! (only had 1 detected today on Google Ads)
I've got a few ideas who could possibly do this (1 or 2 competitors), as it's only them benefiting from this.
I've done some searching and both Shopify nor Google won't disclose IP addresses for me to block. Not that this would make any difference; if the bot is clever enough to "appear like a normal customer", it'll be smart enough to use VPN to mask it's IP.
How does a young business survive this?
Any ideas on what I should do guys? Or anyone who's been in a similar situation?
Please note, Google has a policy that blocking users, regardless of there origin is a policy violation. So do not be tempted to try and block users. If one of these users is Google, then you will get suspended.
Google regularly checks your website, to make sure the data you submit matches the data on the website, both the product landing page and checkout.
Please note, I am not saying your concerns are wrong, I am just here to explain the issue with blocking users.
That makes sense, but it does not really help understand and fix the issue - which I happen to be facing too !
A lot of random people with email addresses such as XXXX.firstname.lastname@example.org leaving my webshop with an empty cart left behind, no payment attempts.
Any idea why and how to fix this ? Thank you !
that's a bummer.
There's no direct way to do this but I will suggest you to stop ads for a while and change the ads platform.
Move to Instagram, Twitter and other platforms for ads.
Yes this will be costly but you will be much safer from fraudulent clicks and then again start with adwords after a week or so with subcategories in shopping ads and see what they are searching for and aiming at. Look at your competitors in that range and figure out who might be doing this.
Hi Community, something really strange is happening here..
First of all, I am not running any paid ads right now. The E-Mail Adress @KiCadwalader mentioned "email@example.com" came to my store at 10:38AM, put a product in the cart (a Hoodie 4XL, white color) and left.
Now for the strange part... Right after that, at exactly 10:39AM, I get an Email from the Google Merchant Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) saying, that my account is being warned for "policy violation: checkout incomplete". The Email says:
"Your Merchant Center account violates the following guidelines: Purchase process incomplete
Payment process incomplete:
Content with unnecessarily difficult or frustrating navigation.
Ensure that users can complete the purchase process on your site using the payment methods provided without errors. This includes a purchase confirmation that is displayed after completion.
Examples of violations:" (Here they put a link to the white 4XL Hoodie, that email@example.com put in the cart 1 minute ago...)
It is absolutely clear that the store visit from this email adress has something to do with me being warned by google. My store and payments are working properly so this is giving me a major headache, since I only have time to resolve this issue until August 9th. After that, Google will suspend my merchant account. I contacted Google on this yesterday, but haven't heard back from them yet.
What is also strange is, that these email adresses all have a country handle in the first name and in their email adresses. For example:
First Name: DE_Max
Last Name: Muller
E-Mail Adress: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, the last name Muller basically doesn't exist in Germany, it is spelled Müller or Mueller. So if this was a real person, why does it have the country handle for Germany (DE) in their first name and Email adress and why do they spell their own last name wrong...
I can only guess that the users who visited @KiCadwalader's store, e.g. (email@example.com) went by the following:
First Name: UA_Vasyl (UA is the country handle for Ukraine)
Last Name: Ivanovich
So, undenieably there is a pattern and I hope Google Support can help me resolve this before August 9th...
Anyone ever had this before and knows how to fix it?
I have had the exact same experience on the 4th of august. There is an abandoned cart from firstname.lastname@example.org in my webshop. They seem to have gone through my website and tried to order a product. The address they filled in does actually exist. The phone number has an extra digit and gave away its a fake order. I googled his email and found this page.
Please note that the name Jan Jansens is a very belgian/dutch name, and i'm running a Belgian webshop.
Based on the payment type they choose i believe this is not a bot, but a person who has done this.
I also added and replaced most of my google shopping products a couple of days before this fake order. Maybe this is being done by Google to see if our website is real or fraudulent? It strikes me as a very odd coincidence as i rarely encounter such things and i have been doing this a long time.
Hi @KiCadwalader and the rest of the community,
after hours and hours of searching for clues and talking to the Google support, I finally figured out what is going on with those abandoned checkout orders and weird E-Mail addresses.
Long story short, My Merchant Center account got suspended because one of my payment methods was not working properly due to an API error. The E-Mail Address, in my case email@example.com, who tried to order something from my store was actually Google, trying to see if my payment methods work properly. Since I only sell in Germany, they only sent that German "bot" to my site.
After I corrected my broken payment method, I told the Google Merchant Support that they can recheck my site. The next day, I had another abandoned checkout from my man firstname.lastname@example.org and also in that same minute, I got a mail from the merchant center saying, that they checked again and all my payment methods work properly. My account got unsuspended and that is the end of the story.
I hope that helps some of you prevent future headaches