Click injection is a sophisticated form of click-spamming. By publishing (or having access to) an Android app which listens to “install broadcasts,” fraudsters detect when other apps are downloaded and trigger clicks before an install completes. The fraudster then receives credit for installs as a consequence.
Without sufficient fraud prevention tools, click injection fraudsters can use a junk app to hijack a device at the right time (and with the right information) to create an “ad click” that appears to be legitimate, resulting in CPI payouts.
Most obviously, fake ad engagements siphon off advertising budget that could have been used to reach more people. Beyond theft, it’s important to look at the way click injections function. While the engagements themselves are fake, the transactions and events that occur are not. As such, the faked ad engagement will be attributed, which results in the poaching of an organic conversion or that of another legitimate advertising partner. This can mean that advertisers continue to invest in advertising that is relatively ineffective, potentially diverting money from better campaigns.
Fake engagements don’t just siphon off ad spend. They also compromise data that marketers will then use to inform how they distribute their ad spend moving forward. For example, if a marketer’s data shows that a certain paid campaign resonated with their target audience, they will likely invest more to optimize ROI. But because that data is based on fraudulent claims, the damage is two-fold. Firstly, they are handing over even more of their ad spend that in the first instance. Secondly, they are ignoring channels that may have brought them genuine success.
Install broadcasts are signals sent from a newly installed app (or an app which changes status in some way, such as when it is uninstalled) on Android devices. This feature is useful for creating a tight connection between different apps, allowing apps to streamline login with a deep link to a recently installed password manager or give users more direct options to transfer into a specific web browser.
Our click injections filter is a capability available as part of Adjust’s fraud prevention suite. If you'd like to start filtering click injection fraud from your campaigns, get in contact with our sales team.
If you’d like to read more about mobile ad fraud, take a look at our mobile fraud guide. This resource covers click injection in more depth, as well as detailing other common types of fraud.