How Mobile Ad Fraud Schemes Work and How to Protect Yourself

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Technology is constantly improving itself and adapting to the needs of consumers and it is clearly seen that mobile phones are the exalted champion in generating website traffic for years among other mediums. However, due to the portability and generous interaction options, mobile phones are also becoming the playing field for illegal fraudulent activities. Besides the capabilities of mobile phones, fraudsters are attracted to this technology because of its ever-growing market share. Thus, if you are advertising in the mobile market, you have a 10% chance to be a victim of ad fraud. Here, we will explain the common types of mobile ad fraud and how can you protect your ad budget against them.

“The cost of ad fraud to the world is approximately half of what is spent on digital advertising in the United States annually, or the entire annual revenue of Walt Disney Company, or gross domestic product (GDP) of Croatia.” Statista, 2021

What are common mobile ad frauds?

Mobile ad fraud techniques involve many ingenious tactics but the actual aim of fraudulent activity is to deplete your ad budget by disguising or altering the data of ad statistics software. If an ad fraud is happening in your mobile ad campaign, you will get empty impressions and engagement for your mobile ad and instead of reaching organic targets, your ad will only be seen by bots which cannot provide any profit to your company and cause bloating in the marketing data.

Mobile ad fraud has a significant impact

Since creating a lot of impressions quickly is the aim of an ad network, they could resort to ad fraud tactics to some extent if not completely. Due to that, bot interactions sprinkled around organic interactions can become hard to find out in your ad statistics software, especially so that it is also provided by your ad network in the first place.
If a bot farm is operating inside your ad campaign, you will get an insurmountable amount of clicks and installs. Since ad networks get paid by impressions or installs (not engagement), they might try to fill up the quota quickly. Therefore, without a constant eye on the data, it might be too late too quickly.

Another deficit created by fraudulent activity is the pollution of statistical data. Every ad campaign should also accumulate information about the behavior of its target audience and should evolve to accommodate to them. Not only does the data coming from an inorganic origin have no value in the end statistics, but it can also hurt the organic and important data to some extent, causing future ad campaigns to have stunted targeting for audiences.

Protecting yourself against mobile ad fraud

Click Injection, Click Flooding, and Ad Stacking techniques try to manipulate the impression data on the user end while Bot Farms create a mass fraudulent activity from a non-organic base masquerading as real humans.
Some other forms of ad fraud such as SDK Spoofing scramble the data coming from an organic person’s mobile phone by causing a seemingly innocent app to make clicks inside the advertised app from the background. This technique is invasive and hard to determine without proper statistical analysis (click times, click amount, engagement info, etc.) due to the simultaneous actions of the organic owner.

Since the main focus of the ad fraud techniques is associated with impression and engagement statistics, those statistics are also the answer to the detection of mobile ad fraud. A thorough approach to identifying abnormal values in the data provided by the ad network’s software is a start. If a value, such as impressions or click-to-install rates, is too high, a suspicion should arise. Determining the type, however, is harder than just finding out if there is a fraud but unfortunately, it is also needed for the certainty of the allegation.

There, a software solution that unearths the unnoticed and overlooked information from the ad campaign statistics becomes a necessity. Interceptd’s Real-Time Ad Fraud Detection software helps you protect your ad campaign by constantly checking for abnormal data in real-time and alerts you if suspicious activity is going on.

Final Words

It seems that if advertisement mediums evolve and adapt to the masses, so do fraud types associated with them. Fraudsters will always be operating where the biggest slice of profit is and they will always be up-to-date in techniques no matter what. To not fall a victim, a third-party software solution such as Interceptd’s Real-Time Fraud Prevention software with ingenious data comparing capability will surely free you of all the hassle and frustration caused by it. We are here to provide easy-to-use real-time protection with alarms and advanced features in the hopes of many fraudless and profitable ad campaigns.

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