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How to Prevent Competitors or Staff from Clicking on Your Paid Advertising Adverts

How to Prevent Competitors or Staff from Clicking on Your Paid Advertising Adverts:

This blog is inspired by comments posted on my BMSEO Consulting Facebook page yesterday.

Adwords Facebook Blog Comment

Firstly, thanks for the ‘click, click, click’ comment, but it made me think, if this was one of my clients, how would I protect their budget and advertising campaign from being blown to pieces by a competitor, or even by my own staff who might see a company advert and click on it? How do you stop Mr ‘Click, Click, Click’ above?!

This is something that everyone can implement on their own respective Adwords Campaigns to ensure that you ARE reaching your targeted market, and not some eejits trying to waste your advertising budget. To scale this, in the worst instance, using a budget from yesterdays startling post where I came across a CPC of $45.76. I could probably click on an advert 10 times in a minute including returning to the search engine. This would equate to $450 a minute (if the budget isn’t capped). More than enough to put at risk any business if this happened regularly. Please note that adverts will stop at limited budgets set up on direct debits which are mandatory.

Google also have a way of detecting and filtering invalid clicks. http://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6114

I’m not one to say it works or whether it will spot individual instances though, I would suggest managing the risk by blocking IP addresses or excluding areas.


Either block ip addresses that show up unusually large amounts of clicks, or exclude an area where a rival company is based (easier if you operate nationally, difficult if its local search). Google do not give out the ip addresses of the people/computers/networks clicking on your adverts due to privacy policy so you have to get the information from your server. Long winded, but worth it if you’re intending on running a Campaign for an extended period of time.

Instructions to Exclude IP Addresses:

You can remove computers and network ip addresses in the settings tab within your Adwords Campaign.

This will work on the following types of Campaigns

–          Search and Display Networks

–          Search Network Only

–          Display Network Only

–          Display Network Remarketing


  1. In the campaign click on settings:

Adwords settings

  1. Select the Campaign you wish to make the changes to.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and click on Advanced settings, then the ip exclusion link.

Select Edit to ‘Manage IP Exclusions’.

Manage IP Exclusions

Add in the IP addresses you wish to block in the box that opens up.

IP address exclusion in Adwords

  1. Save the settings.

To remove any of the exclusions, just go to the same box pictured above and delete them and save the settings.

Exclude Locations in Adwords Campaign:

I have a OEM in the UK that I run a Campaign for. They have 1 specific competitor, rather than take run the risk of letting them see the Campaign and my optimised adverts freely, I have blocked their location, which loses 68,000 people which could be a loss of targeted customers, but as a consequence of 87,000,000 in the UK, it’s a managed sacrifice. See screen shot of ‘Choose locations’ below, type in the area, then click exclude.

Exclude locations in Adwords

Author: Brendan Smith


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