Google considers Invalid clicks are clicks that are unintentional or clicks that are coming from malicious software.
Here are examples of what Google considers to be an Invalid click:
- Accidental clicks that provide no value, such as the second click of a double-click
- Manual clicks intended to increase someone's advertising cost
- Manual clicks intended to increase profit for the website owners hosting your ads
- Clicks and impressions by automated tools, robots, or other deceptive software
Impressions intended to artificially lower an advertiser's clickthrough rate (CTR) Clicks tagged as Invalid in ClickGUARD are not the same as Google Ads' Invalid clicks!
There are several reasons why clicks could be categorized as Invalid in ClickGUARD, and here are a few:
- a click from an Ad bot (Google Ad bot) when you didn't prevent logging these clicks in settings - it's an Invalid click that's not shown in Google Ads (but it did happen) and you are not charged for it
- a click made to an Ad where the IP address was previously blocked - this happens when (likely a bot) saves the Ad URL and makes repetitive clicks even though new Ads are not showing
- a click with a duplicate GCLID - this is the most common Invalid click you'll see and it can happen when someone saves the Ad URL and repetitively clicks or clicks on a search Ad, does the simple browser "back" action and clicks on it again, repeating the process indefinitely.
Invalid clicks are shown as INVALID in all click reports.
Are Invalid clicks hurting your business?
Not in all cases. But remember - we're talking about clicks tagged as Invalid in ClickGUARD, not Invalid clicks reported by Google Ads. Those other might (and likely will) hurt you.
Fortunately, as you keep using ClickGUARD the number of Invalid clicks in Google Ads will likely significantly decrease.
Why doesn't Google Ads prevent clicks with duplicate GCLID?
In reality, they will also tag those clicks as Invalid and either not charge you for them or refund you. But they can't really prevent them because of the way URL tracking works.
If someone or something saves the Ad URL (that starts with ClickGUARD's tracking template) there's nothing to prevent them from making repetitive clicks.