The Adjust Mobile Measurement Glossary

Mobile Ad Fraud

What is mobile ad fraud?

Mobile ad fraud is the attempt to defraud advertisers, publishers or supply partners by exploiting mobile advertising technology. The objective of fraudsters is to steal from advertising budgets. Types of mobile ad fraud include click spam, click injection and SDK spoofing.

Mobile ad fraud can take a number of different forms, from faked impressions, click spam or faked installs. For example, fraudulent publishers seeking to benefit from false impressions may stuff adverts into a single pixel, or deliberately align an advert out of view to generate views or impressions that never took place. Our ad fraud white paper covers this in much more detail.

Why does mobile ad fraud happen?

Mobile ad fraud presents a significant opportunity to make money quickly through illegal means. This is contributed to by two factors: the first is that while mobile content slows in production, both audience and advertising demands grow, creating a vacuum that fraudsters can fill. Secondly, a lack of industry action in combating fraud means that, for the moment, a criminal is less likely to be caught and can still act with impunity.

Mobile ad fraud requires wholesale industry co-ordination. Progress is being made, all that’s needed is further evolution with regards to technology, coordination and facing up to the realities of mobile ad fraud.

3 types of mobile ad fraud every mobile marketer should know

1. Click Spam

This type of fraud happens when a fraudster executes a click for users who are none-the-wiser (in fact, it is unlikely that the user is even exposed to the ad). Click Spam is also known as organics poaching.

2. Click Injection

Click injection is a sophisticated form of click spamming. By publishing an Android app which listens to “install broadcasts,” it’s possible to detect when other apps are downloaded on a device. This enables fraudsters to trigger clicks before the install is complete. Without preventative tools in place, this means the fraudster will receive credit for the install.

3. SDK Spoofing

SDK spoofing is also known as traffic spoofing or replay attacks. It is the creation of illegitimate installs using data of real devices.

What does Adjust do to prevent mobile ad fraud?

Adjust’s Fraud Prevention Suite works specifically on user acquisition fraud. The suite prevents fraudulent traffic from being attributed to your paid channels, which means that ad spend is being paid into the right channels and boosting user engagement. The Fraud Prevention Suite analyzes each and every install event in real-time, scanning for abnormalities and potentially fraudulent action. By focusing on singular events, Adjust ensures that no false positives are introduced.

Adjust’s Fraud Prevention Suite also keeps your dataset clean, allowing planning and campaign reviews to be based on entirely accurate data. For more on how our Fraud Prevention Suite works in the real world, Viber case study, which details just how effective it can be.