Is Your App Safe from Mobile Ad Fraud?

Attribution fraud is a common fraud type in the market. Unfortunately, the click methodology of attribution platforms and the redirection path are easily exploited by fraudsters who are able to appear as if they were the provider of that important last click and therefore get paid for driving the install as per CPC, CPI or CPA. This increases cost.
A high number of redirections means there is a  high possibility of being the victim of these type of fraudulent activities. If you have control over this and decrease the number of stations involved in the campaign you will be able to reach legitimate publishers with more efficient spend.
Now let’s look closer to what redirection is and what the risks involved are.

What is Redirection?

The mobile ad ecosystem is using a similar method to web technology to observe parts of the traffic flow between supply and demand sides. 

Redirection path is basically a way in which impressions, clicks, installs, post-install activities follow when the end-user make them fired. In this two-way path (including post-backs), all the traffic flow through the marketing channels, the stations (the servers) where your traffic has achieved.

Tracking links are essentially a combination of two parts. First is the base tracker which redirects the user to the related stores. The other part includes other macros (similar to UTM parameters used for web traffic) for more data granularity and to get more information about your traffic.

You can generate two types of tracking link, dynamic or static. Most of them are dynamic. However, if you want to move forward with a certain data set which you don’t want to change (like CPI bid), you can create static ones.

The risks involved?

There are risks associated with using a high number of stations and there being so many redirections in the path. Let’s look at these risks in more detail:

Brand safety

You have a right to know which publishers show your ad in their placements and whom you are working with. However, if you don’t know the stations in the path you cannot be certain that your ad will appear where you want it to appear i.e. in a brand safe environment. Additionally, the link you use can be broken for any reason and/or having many redirections in the path increases the possibility of this issue. It is like a war with many fronts at the same time. It is eventual for you to lose your control.

Incent Traffic

Although you are running campaigns with reasonable bids, it is possible to see networks which are able to get incent traffic with smallest bids to generate more profit. It is an obstacle for you to get qualified installs you deserve at the end.

Fraud Traffic

If your link is subject to a high number of redirections in the path it means many parties are involved in sending traffic to your campaign. Bearing in mind how opportunistic fraudsters are multi redirections gives them the opportunity to hijack the campaign.

Is it possible to track?

Your Mobile Measurement Platform (MMP) only provides a base tracking link. However, it is nearly impossible to see what happens beyond this because it is not possible to track partners whom networks give campaign or to find out redirection path the traffic follows. If you just have tracking link belongs to campaign on the path and this link is active, you will be able to see the trace of the traffic. Otherwise, it is unfortunately impossible. The below image explains how the path works.

Get a free risk assessment report for your app

Would you like to see if your app is under risk in terms of mobile ad fraud?
Fill out the form below and get your free redirection report for risk assessment.