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Desktop Click Fraud Has Risen From 20% to 25% in 2017

May 31, 2017 7:30:03 AM

Digital marketers have been trying to escape "click-based" metrics for years, but nonetheless, click-through rate (CTR) numbers still show up on campaign reports. But while the ad world debates the merits of click-based metrics as an effective measurement tool, the affect of click fraud is often overlooked. Just how impactful is click fraud in programmatic?

Pixalate is beginning a series of blog posts which will examine click fraud metrics to identify trends, patterns, and key takeaways for the entire industry. Up first: Desktop click fraud rates.

Desktop click fraud rates increased 21.1% from January-April 2017

Click fraud is a growing problem on desktop devices, across all channels (video, display, web, apps, etc.).


  • About one-in-five (19.9%) of desktop clicks were fraudulent in January 2017
  • That number rose each month throughout Q1 2017, peaking at 27.8% in March
  • There was a slight decrease in desktop click fraud from March to April (24.1%)
  • Overall, from January-April 2017, desktop click fraud rates increased 20.8% (from about 19.9% to 24.1%)

The digital ad industry started off 2017 with roughly one-in-five (19.9%) desktop clicks proving fraudulent, and already that number has risen to nearly one-in-four (24.1%).

If desktop click fraud continues to grow at this pace, then over one-third of desktop clicks will be fraudulent by the end of 2017.

Desktop display web click fraud rates have jumped 34.6% since January

Pixalate uncovered a similar trend when examining just desktop display web click fraud rates.

  • About one-in-five (19.5%) of desktop display web clicks were fraudulent in January 2017
  • That number peaked in March 2017, at 28.3%
  • In April 2017, Pixalate measured a 26.2% fraudulent click rate on desktop display web ads
  • Overall, from January-April 2017, desktop display web click fraud rates increased 34.6% (from about 19.5% to 26.2%)

Our data indicates that click fraud is not just a problem across desktop display ads — it's a fast-growing problem, particularly for desktop display ads on the web. Marketers have already seen click fraud rise from a one-in-five to a one-in-four problem in the span of just a few months. 

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