Despite the fact mobile ad fraud remains prevalent, advertisers have opportunities to fight with them.
According to the latest mobile ad fraud report of AppsFlyer, scam comes in waves. It means that when new protective measures are introduced by advertisers and marketers, fraudsters (after a while) adapt, find new tricks, and continue the cycle.
Over the first quarter of 2018 mobile app marketers faced with fraud 30% more often than in 2017. Shopping, gaming, travel, and finance apps suffered the worst financial losses (reaching $700-$800 million worldwide).
There are different types of mobile ad fraud from impression to post-install. The table below shows examples of the most common fraudulent tricks.
Understanding the problem of fraud
Protection and insurance
Fraudulent traffic costs you more than you think. According to Appnexus
, spendings on ad continue to rise at high speed. By 2021 digital advertising costs are expected to represent a majority of all US ad spends.
In other countries around the world, the growth is also expected but in smaller numbers. Unfortunately, with the rise of investment in advertising, the rate of scams is also increasing. Appnexus calculated that by 2022 marketers can lose 214% of their income or $44 billion.
Given the high fraud risk in mobile marketing, Forrester
decided to ask 250 marketing leaders how they fight with scam. Below you can see their answers in percentage ratio.
To protect your business and save your money you should better ensure it from ad fraud. There are many companies specializing in fraud detection. And no wonder that businesses that were faced with serious fraud challenges (to save high ROI) prefer also to invest in anti-fraud agencies.
Many marketers are now interesting in insurance policy from the fraudsters. The investments improve performance data of ad campaign and provide needed coverage (when the nest big fraud wave hits).
The scale challenge
Fraudsters are constantly improving their ability to find different ways to make their traffic legitimate. You need to spend a huge amount of resources and time to identify scam. According to Adjust research
, mobile ad frauds had doubled through the past year.
Adjust researchers measured 3,43 billion of app installs, over 350 billion events, processed 125 terabytes of data per day through the first quarter of 2018. They found that over 37% of the fraud was connected with SDK spoofing accounts, 27% were associated with click injection, 20% were facing with installs, and 16% were from click spam.
Lack of transparency
Mobile devices are fragment platforms where marketers can plan their ad campaigns in web, apps, social networks, and other operating systems. Today the market is divided between two competing operating systems (OS): Android and iOS from Apple.
The functionality differs in data capturing and data sharing. According to AppsFlyer
Android captures over 80% of the market globally, and iOS has about 23% of the market share (according to last year statistics). Take a look at the map that shows which countries prefer to use Android and which iOS.
Mobile ad campaign depends on permissions and prohibitions that are given by these two OS. According to marketers, it is easier to launch the ad for Android devices users because there are more possibilities in tracking. iOS is more closed system.
Limited visibility of actions leads to fraudsters activity. A complex value of chain in mobile advertising transparency between affiliates creates the opportunities and financial incentives for fraud.
Mobile marketers still trying to gain control and visibility over the ad inventory they buy. For 33% of marketers the lack of inventory transparency challenges campaign performance and optimization.
With several simple steps, you will have a chance to avoid some of the biggest and fastest growing traps in mobile marketing. With proper planning, you will be able to minimize the loss of your time and money.
Here are three steps to help you protect your data and wallet.
Mobile CPA fraud prevention
once said, “Knowledge is power”. Don’t be lazy to educate yourself. The best way for marketers to fight with fraud is to be aware of streaming events and achievements (and also use available anti-fraud tools).
a global data director at TBWA, claimed that getting basic knowledge marketers and advertisers can layer more data into the picture of how fraud works.
According to AppsFlyer, marketers still rely on legacy technologies and tools to combat mobile ad fraud. Enterprise markets often cite a lack of understanding of existing types of mobile fraud and how to fight with them. It needs to be fixed.
Every interaction in the mobile ad environment consists of 3 things:
Study each thing better, if you want to identify fraudulent activity. Knowing how every element works will be easier for you to identify it is a real user or bot (emulator); the action was made by a user or manipulated by malicious scripts; this is a real device or servers that are hacking the advertising attribution funnel.
Take part in mobile marketing events. They are usually present novelties in marketing, including the fight against the last types of fraud.
In order to get less on the tricks and prevent unwanted surprises, choose carefully your partners.
Choose your partners carefully
Collaboration with ecosystem partners plays influence on effectiveness and limiting the impact of mobile fraud. Not all the partners are ready to deal with fraud prevention. Therefore, choose partners that match your requirements.
- Start with the acquaintance. Read the reviews from other marketers about the partner chosen by you. Monitor what companies are known for delivering high-quality users from quality traffic sources.
- Your ad partner should offer you full transparency in order to start a productive relationship with your company. Potential partner should be opened in sharing with working methods, data collection, and metrics for performance measurement. The most important is to evaluate their transparency, performance, and reliability.
- Find out if they have a direct relationship with publishers and what OS they interact with. It will allow you to see if they have premium publishers or it composes of utility apps.
- Clear up, how is their inventory segmentation and what ad units they are working with? It will allow you to see if their metrics match the standards of the industry per each ad unit like banners, videos, playable, etc.
- Take a note, how much time does it take to stop the campaign for the partner? A partner that can’t pause the campaign means that he can be connected to fraudulent activity, it is better to avoid.
Monitor campaign effectiveness on fraudulent activity
The success of mobile advertising measures by the number of clicks that are generated by a campaign.
Performance monitoring of your campaign starts once your campaign activates. Together with the measurement of mobile ad campaign efficiency, we recommend you detect weird activities.
Try to compare and analyze all the metrics via networks, publishers, platforms, geo, and ad units. Split your data to make it easier to identify anything that looks atypical. Make a table where you can compare installs, clicks, and impressions separately.
One of the key indicators is the number of daily installs and their sources. Actually, the anomalies between the indicators are easy to identify. For instance, your mobile ad networks generate 90% of clicks, but you receive only 1% of installs, it may point out on fraudulent behavior (click scamming).
Post-click conversion tracking allows advertisers to track certain actions. CPA platforms help marketers with transparency because they decide on what exactly they need from the campaign and see how well their ads are performing.
The ability to do this in real time and optimize the campaigns is a key to maximize the volume of high performing clicks, hitting the CPA targets, and boost the ROI.
Compare the behavior of your users. Make ratios of different user behaviors and compare them by the sources. Match the behavior of organic traffic and paid installs because organic traffic doesn’t include traffic that is generated by the contextual advertising (organic traffic usually has no risk of fraud).
Despite the fact that mobile ad fraud remains prevalent, advertisers have opportunities to fight with them and invest in fraud detection systems. To avoid a large flow of fraud on advertising campaigns, marketers have to develop obsessive control over the performance of ad in the advertising industry.