Clicks on Google Ads with user agent "nginx-ssl early hints"

Hi, bit of an unusual one but bear with me.

We recently experienced a huge spike in traffic on our Google Ads shopping campaigns.
Specifically, one campaign and a handful of products suddenly started receiving 1000’s of extra clicks per hour overnight which is normally when our site is very quiet.

We were worried this maybe some form of click fraud but Google are certain all of the clicks were genuine and originated in the UK (which is where we are based and where our Ads are set to target).

We have examined our raw weblogs and could see that all of the IP addresses were originating from Cloudflare in London. I have realised that we haven’t set our server up to store the true IP address which has raised another concern with regard to location targeting which I also need to investigate.

In the meantime, I have created a firewall rule in Cloudflare that blocks traffic originating outside of the UK with a query string that contains the string “gclid” which would indicate it came from a click on a shopping advert.

I can see over night that several hundred clicks were blocked by this rule. When I view the data for the blocked traffic in Cloudflare I can see that the majority have a user agent of “nginx-ssl early hints” and these clicks are all on the campaign and products that have been receiving the extra traffic.

Because this traffic has the gclid in the query string Google will attribute the click to us and charge us accordingly.

Has anyone got any idea what might be going on here? This has cost us a considerable sum of money so far and Google are unable to help us further as our raw weblogs are not usable.

Have you enabled the 103 Early Hints beta?

Yes, sorry forgot to mention that.

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