Fraud monitoring firm Click Forensics has just released its Click Fraud Index statistics for the final quarter of last year, and finds that click fraud has risen to 16.6% of all clicks.

This is up from 14.2% for the same quarter in 2006, and an increase on the previous quarter’s figure of 16.2%.

Click Forensics uses data from 4,000 search marketers and agencies, and monitors online campaigns for click fraud by correlating information collected from search provider campaigns and advertisers’ web sites.

It claims to offer the ’industry’s most accurate view of click fraud to date’, but Google and other major search engines generally take issue with these figures, claiming that the real click fraud rate is far lower.

Other stats from Click Forensics’ report:

  • The average click fraud rate for PPC ads on search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 28.3% in Q4 2007, up from 19.2% for the same quarter in 2006 and 28.1% for Q3 2007.
  • The 2007 industry average click fraud rate grew by 15% over the rate for 2006.
  • In Q4 2007, most non-US click fraud came from India (4.3%), Germany (3.9%), and South Korea (3.7%).

It is very difficult to get definite figures on actual rates of click fraud but it is vital to be aware that it can, and does, threaten the performance of your PPC campaigns. Another certainty is that the search engines are doing everything in their power to identify PPC click fraud and eliminate it from their platforms.