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Google’s Two Click Penalty: All you need to know

Experiencing a sudden drop in CTR?

Are your ads requiring visitors to click them twice before reaching the landing page?

It’s time to beware because Google may have imposed a two-click penalty. Google’s objective is to promote a healthy ecosystem for advertisers to get the best out of their ad spending. To achieve this, Google often takes several measures to ensure that CPC advertisers pay for legitimate actions on their ads. One such measure is the two-click penalty.  

Let’s understand what this penalty is all about and how it affects publishers.

What is a two-click penalty?

Two click penalty or double click penalty or confirm click penalty is a preventive measure undertaken by Google to avoid accidental/invalid clicks on advertisements.

Generally, on clicking an ad, the user is immediately redirected to the landing page. However, if Google imposed a two-click penalty on a publisher’s website inventory, it would require the user to click an ad twice. After the first click, a ‘Visit Site’ button would emerge overlapping the ad. Once this button is clicked, only then the user would land at the specific ad link. 

Though there is no certain reason why a specific publisher may encounter the two-click penalty, Google usually does this to keep any accidental or invalid click under check. On receiving a swarm of clicks from an individual publisher, Google may suspect a possible bot attack or fraudulent activity and thus, it may take preventive measures to avoid advertisers from paying for invalid clicks. 

Moreover, invalid and accidental clicks reduce the credibility of publishers in the eyes of Google as well as the demand partners. It may portray the publisher in the wrong sense, employing fake clicks to reap a larger share of the ad revenue. 

How does it affect publishers?

Publishers are the ones who are primarily affected by a two-click penalty. Normally, a website visitor may click an ad only once to check what’s in store. A second confirmation click may lead to the user bouncing back without clicking the ad. This reduces the CTR which directly leads to a loss of revenue since a single click cannot be counted for paying the publishers. Reduction in CTR consequently reduces the ad impressions as well. 

Since several publishers have AdX or AdSense as their major sources of revenue, both the click on an ad imposed with the penalty is considered for CTR, which drops significantly with time. 

How to avoid a two-click penalty?

To make matters worse, Google never sends a notification informing publishers about the penalty imposed. Thus, it’s always recommended to take advanced measures to avoid being penalized. 

1. Avoid ad placements close to navigation buttons, drop-down menus, and play or download buttons. Such locations are prone to accidental clicks which may lead to a two-click penalty.

2. Ensure a clear distinction between the ad’s content and the content on the website. Displaying an ad in a format similar to the neighbouring content of the website may confuse the users and may prompt a click among impulsive visitors.

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3. Label the ads on the website as ‘Sponsored’ or ‘Advertisements’ so that the users can navigate without any difficulty.

4. Before finalizing the ad placement, remember to test it on all types of devices; right from desktops to mobile phones. 

5. Never use misleading headings to generate a click on the ads. Labeling the ads as ‘helpful’ or ‘more resources’ may get you banned for an indefinite period.


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