Monitoring clicks: Telling the good from the bad

To get the most from your ad campaign, you want as many good clicks (or standard-quality clicks) as possible. One way to do that is to monitor your ad click traffic for certain unexplained changes.

Each time your ad is clicked, Microsoft Advertising categorizes the click as either a standard-quality click, a low-quality click, or an invalid click.

Standard-quality clicks are clicks that are most likely from potential customers. These are the clicks that have the best potential to drive customer awareness of your business and boost your conversion rate. On the other hand, low-quality and invalid clicks typically don't result in conversions or value to your business. These types of click often originate from spiders, robots, questionable sources, or test servers.

Monitoring your clicks

To get the most from your ad campaign, you want to be sure you're getting as many standard-quality clicks as possible. To learn how many clicks Microsoft Advertising has identified as low quality or invalid, see our topic on performance reports. Select the Low-quality clicks and Low-quality click rate (%) performance statistics for your reports.

You should also monitor your ad click traffic for any unexplained changes in click volume, click-through rate, or conversion rate. Here are a few suggestions for monitoring ad click traffic:

Monitor ad group activity by running regular Microsoft Advertising performance reports.
Why: Understanding your average daily, weekly, and monthly click volume can help you spot sudden, significant changes in click volume, which might be an indication of invalid clicks. For more information, see Create a report.
Monitor the Traffic sources report for traffic that may not be ideal for your business
Why: Understand where your business’s high performing traffic comes from and exclude websites that you don’t want. You can find the Traffic sources report on the Reports page, in the Campaign analytics group. For more information, see Create a report.
Track your ad conversion rates by turning on conversion tracking and using Universal Event Tracking.
Why: A sudden change in your conversion rate could mean an increase in low-quality and invalid clicks. Using conversion tracking and Microsoft Advertising Universal Event Tracking makes it possible to analyze the number of clicks your ads are getting and the number of conversions being generated. To learn more, see What is UET and how can it help me?
Be aware of factors that can cause increased click volume.
Why: Sudden increases in click volume can be the result of many factors, and can often be good for you and your business. Before you become concerned, check if the following may be causing increased click volume:
  • Seasonal changes, such as an increase in online shopping during the holidays.
  • Sales, discounts, or promotions that increase visibility and bring extra traffic to your site.
  • Recent news events that stimulate online consumer interest and web traffic.
  • Changes to your ad headings or text, or changes to your website.
  • New links to your website from other sites.

Do you get billed for all clicks?

You only get billed for and pay for standard-quality clicks. If Microsoft Advertising bills you for any clicks that are later determined to be low-quality or invalid, your bill will be adjusted accordingly. However, the clicks will remain listed in your reports as "standard-quality clicks."

If we suspect invalid clicks generated by search engine robots, automated click tools, or other fraudulent means, we will automatically credit your account.

If your account is deactivated and you have a balance which is refund eligible due to a credit for invalid clicks, Microsoft Advertising will automatically attempt to refund your primary payment method upon deactivation. Information about the refund process can be found here.​

If you believe you have been charged for invalid clicks or are concerned about suspicious click activity, please contact support.

  • Microsoft Advertising continues to improve and extend methods of identifying invalid clicks, including:

    • Analyzing search patterns to improve the identification of invalid clicks.
    • Recognizing different types of click activity and helping distinguish among malicious, accidental, and valid clicks.
    • Using campaign performance data to assist in identifying invalid click activity.
  • Want expert advice on your ads? Schedule a no-cost session with a personal Microsoft Advertising consultant

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