When it comes to connecting with and converting customers, marketers know the power of calls. A phone call gives consumers a direct pathway to your business and a friendly representative who can guide them through that last stage of the sales funnel. They offer immediate connection and human interaction—a two-pronged formula for success.
PPC call campaigns are especially effective because they give you the ability to meet prospects where they are actively searching for solutions or products, at precisely the time they are most interested in what you are offering. These people are eager for easy solutions from the comfort of their own home. However, one issue that can arise in these campaigns is PPC call fraud.
An unfortunate reality is that some bad faith actors use call fraud to attempt to scam PPC campaigns. This is a concern for any business that is hoping to reach more prospects by setting up inbound call PPC campaigns. The good news is that there are steps you can take and tools you can use, like call tracking software, that will help with fraud detection and guard against PPC call fraud.
Why PPC Call Campaigns are Effective
One fair question to start with is why exactly are PPC call campaigns so valuable to marketers? The answer lies in the power of calls to help with conversions.
Calls are so effective because they connect consumers to their preferred service or product right away, while also putting them in touch with a live representative who can facilitate a sale. Callers are at their highest interest level once they have completed your call-to-action and clicked to make a call. Once the call is connected, they are already of the mindset of discussing a sale and they will have a representative they can speak with who can address their individual concerns.
It’s no surprise then that PPC calls are three times more likely to convert. When you are working with PPC calls, they are Pay-Per-Click (or Pay-Per-Call), meaning that you are making a financial investment with every call. With PPC calls, you are more likely to get value back. Inbound call leads are worth five or even ten times as much as a web form lead.
There is a lot at stake with PPC campaigns, which is why PPC call fraud and fraud detection are such an important concern.
How PPC Call Fraud Occurs
There are a variety of ways that marketers may contend with fraudulent PPC calls. One way is for a company to receive a high volume of irrelevant or unusable calls. This can be the result of an error with your campaign, like running ads in the wrong geographic areas. It could also be because of a “dirty number.” If a company receives a dirty number, it means that the phone number for their PPC campaign has been used before or might still be in use. This results in PPC calls that have no value to you. Dirty numbers can be a mistake or a deliberate attempt at a PPC scam.
The high value of PPC calls to marketers have made them a target for scammers. These bad actors can engage in PPC call fraud in ways beyond a dirty number. One that has impacted affiliate marketing particularly is the “secret shopper” method, which occurs when someone posing as a marketer will charge a business for PPC calls but then recruit unwitting “secret shoppers” to call the line but not make a purchase. This causes businesses to pay for calls while the fake marketer pays off the shoppers and pockets the rest for themselves. In this scenario, the calling shoppers do not even realize they are helping in this fraud.
Any kind of fraud, whether it happens accidentally or the result of a deliberate perpetrator, can severely impact a company’s bottom line. A high volume of fraud can be devastating. Fortunately, there are ways to spot PPC call fraud and prevent it from occurring.
How to Prevent PPC Call Fraud
PPC scams are harmful not just to one company, but to the entire industry in which they occur. After one business is struck by PPC fraud, it is likely others will eventually face it as well. That is why it is imperative that businesses work together to combat fraud. Open discussion of fraud is an important first step towards keeping everybody vigilant.
One step businesses should always take is to report PPC call fraud to the appropriate agency. Involving law enforcement and regulatory partners can ensure that scammers are brought to justice and others are de-incentivized from future schemes. Reporting fraud also leads to better data keeping, so the industry as a whole can be aware of threats.
Blacklisting of numbers or fraudulent companies is another key step. You should keep a list of numbers that are coming from known fraudulent places and share that list internally. These blacklisted numbers can be instant indicators of a fraudulent call.
Using Call Tracking Software to Prevent Fraud
Ultimately, the best defense against PPC call fraud will likely be found in the tech tools you use to track and distribute your calls. Effective call tracking software is a valuable line of defense when it comes to fraud detection. The best call tracking platforms will have features and settings that will help you seek out fraudulent calls.
Getting all the details on all your calls is a key feature—you will want to be able to see if you are receiving calls from the same numbers. Spotting duplicate numbers is a useful way to detect fraud. Make sure you have real-time reporting so that instances of PPC call fraud can be flagged right away.
There are also ways you can stop fraudulent calls as soon as they come in. You can use advanced filtering to stop calls that aren’t in the geographic areas where you are running your campaigns. Implementing an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) will also go a long way in halting certain fraud calls from wasting too much of your time or resources. A customized IVR can ask specific questions designed to stop fraudulent PPC calls.
Using call tracking software can give you a major boost in fraud detection. You can use your call tracking features while creating blacklists and working with law enforcement to create a multi-pronged approach to fighting PPC call fraud. In doing so, you can continue to use PPC calls to drive customers to your business successfully.
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