Is Your Data Lying to You?

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Is Your Data Lying to You?

Recently Mehmet Bilgin, the CTO of Interceptd presented at MGS Europe in Berlin. His keynote speech, entitled “Is Your Data Lying to You” questions the business and marketing decisions that are based on inaccurate data, due to ad fraud: “Shouldn’t we all feel extremely confident in the accuracy of our data. I’m here to tell you that you can’t trust your data, you shouldn’t trust your data”.

Ad fraud is a type of organized crime which is the second-largest, in terms of profitability, second only to drugs. Estimates vary, however, Adage claims that ad fraud will cost businesses globally, 23 million USD this year.

Presented in the Raddison Blue Hotel, in the heart of Berlin, Mehmet Bilgin gave his keynote presentation to many marketing, advertising and sales professionals in the mobile and app industry. The key message of his speech was raising awareness and understanding of ad fraud. Attendees included employees from top-tier companies, such as Facebook, Google, EA, Amazon, King, Pandora and happen.

Referring to attribution fraud (a type of ad fraud), Mehmet Bilgin said “There are some publishers out there, who try to steal your organic users, what I mean by steal, they try to take credit [for those organic users]. There are some other publishers, who sends [sic] fake installs, fake events, fake registrations, fake engagements, from non-existing users, from bots… I hope it terrifies you, as much as it terrifies me”

Is Your Data Lying to You
Statistics showing the rising proliferation and concern for ad fraud. Source: ABM Consortium


Mehmet Bilgin details Interceptd’s efforts to raise awareness and understanding of ad fraud: “We talked to many potential customers, we gave [the] same response to all their counter-arguments, it doesn’t matter if you’re a …. small start-up … a big enterprise, which ad network or agency you are using, or your campaign type doesn’t make a difference, if you are doing user acquisition, you are definitely being affected by fraud.”

However, he then details how amidst the increasing issue of ad fraud and increasing awareness-raising efforts, there is still some difficulty penetrating the market: “…our community is actually kind of hesitant doing something about it [sic]…. unfortunately I only have one simple explanation about it, a possible explanation, you [the industry] don’t want to face it”

A personal anecdote is revealed, regarding a meeting between Mr. Bilgin and a CMO of an unnamed company in London. Mehmet details that during the meeting, the CMO of the unnamed company gave him advice: “Mehmet, I think your best-bet to market your product is to go after newly appointed CMOs”, said Mehmet as he paraphrased the unnamed CMO.

Mehmet went on the further explain the CMOs explanation of why marketing to existing CMOs is not ideal, he paraphrased that CMO as saying:

“Because you are here to tell me that in the last couple of months, couple of years… I’ve been looking at incorrect data, I’ve been making wrong decisions, and I’ve been losing money. It is not easy to accept”

After explaining what is attribution and ad fraud, and the existing market hesitation and awareness level, Mehmet then went on to show a live demo of click spamming to the audience. “So now, I will try to show you … an app that does click spamming in the background”.

Is Your Data Lying To You
Image 1: A rough outline of the click spamming process.

On the screen, two apps are shown. Mehmet shows how downloading an innocent-looking app, results in click spamming, from fake clicks being sent to an MMP via that innocent-looking app. These fake clicks are then used to take credit for organic installs, which should have been free, however, now the marketer will pay for.

The presentation is wrapped up, discussing the ways to move forward and combat ad fraud: “Solution: It starts with acceptance. So, we should all accept that there is [ad] fraud, that it is big and that it is affecting everyone”.

He discusses the human-resources needs: “Then if you want to fight against [ad] fraud you need to build a strong team … maybe including data engineers, developers, [and] data scientists”

Additionally, there is also a need for the constant evolution of ad fraud solution algorithms, technologies and methods: “Then just learning the current fraud methods is not enough, because fraudsters, they do not stop, they keep finding new ways of doing it [committing ad fraud] … [the ad fraud solution team] needs to keep up with them.” Mehmet summarized his speech by saying: “You shouldn’t waste any time… we are losing money… The critical thing is we are looking [at] incorrect data and we are giving [sic] wrong decisions”

If you’d like to know more about ad fraud, you can read about it here. Alternatively, we think the best way, is to experience it yourself, live, with the help of one of our friendly consultants. Click here to start your free trial.


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