What is mobile ad fraud?
The definition of 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.
Why does mobile ad fraud happen?
Mobile ad fraud presents a significant opportunity to make money quickly through illegal means.
Although mobile devices and mobile advertising have been around for some time, fraudulent activity continues to be a problem. Two factors contribute to this. Firstly, as mobile technology evolves, so too do the mobile ad fraudsters’ techniques. 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. As no one party feels responsible, most do nothing.
Mobile ad fraud requires wholesale industry coordination. Progress is being made; all that’s needed is further evolution with regard to technology, coordination, and facing up to the realities of mobile ad fraud.
4 types of mobile ad fraud every mobile marketer should know
Marketers must understand the different fraud types that can impact their attribution data and budgets.
1. Click spam
This type of fraud, also known as click flooding or click 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 organic poaching.
2. Click injection
Click injection is a sophisticated form of click spamming. By publishing an Android app that listens to “install broadcasts,” it’s possible to detect when other apps are downloaded on a device. This enables fraudsters to trigger clicks, or perform click hijacking before the install is complete. Without fraud prevention 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.
4. Fake installs
A fake install is performed by a fraudster using device emulators, device farms, and bots to fake an install when none has occurred and claim advertising revenue. In doing so, the fraudster steals money from advertisers, networks, and publishers.
This includes the fraudulent technique of ad stacking, in which multiple ads are layered on top of a single ad placement so that once it’s clicked, every ad in the stack will register a click or impression despite only having a single engagement.
How does ad fraud impact mobile marketing?
Digital ad fraud costs advertisers USD$120 billion every year. If fraudulent activity is not addressed, it can significantly cost mobile app marketers. Over time, metrics will be skewed due to misattribution and marketers may be investing in channels that are actually teeming with fraudulent activity and thus, lower their chances of acquiring real users. If not addressed, fraud can greatly impact your marketing budget, ROI, and overall success.
How do you stop ad fraud with Adjust?
As an app marketer, you do not want to make decisions based on compromised data. If you’re wondering how to stop ad fraud, look no further. 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 every install event in real-time, scanning for abnormalities and potentially fraudulent action. Adjust ensures that no false positives are introduced by focusing on singular events.
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, check out this Viber case study, which details just how effective it can be.
How Adjust prevents the four ad fraud types
At Adjust, we are committed to ensuring our clients’ datasets remain clean, and so we stop fraud before it enters your ecosystem. That way, you can spend your budget and measure your efforts confidently. Below, is a brief overview of how we fight each of the major types of mobile ad fraud.
For more information on each ad fraud solution Adjust provides, check out the links below.
- Learn more about Adjust’s SDK Signature, which combats SDK spoofing.
- Check out the Click injection filter that prevents fake installs.
- Read about our Anonymous IP filter, which rejects all installs with compromised IPs.
- Dive into our powerful Distribution modeling, which finds and rejects all fake clicks.
In short, if you’d like to safeguard your mobile app and ad campaigns from fraud, check out Adjust’s Fraud Prevention Suite. And if you’re ready to see it and all of Adjust’s comprehensive app measurement solutions in action, schedule your demo now.