Mobile Ad Fraud Trends: Android vs. iOS Advertising

2019 Mobile Ad Fraud Trends: Android vs. iOS Advertising
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2.7 million. That is the number of people living in Chicago, the number of Netflix’s new paid subscribers in Q2, 2019, the cost of one massive blue-fin tuna and the number of apps estimated to be on Google Play in 2019. The last statistic is the most relevant to this article. The first three are just for fun. 

From the early days, there were 500 earnest apps in the inaugural 2008 App Store. Today there is 1.8 million.  The industry has certainly grown and been embraced by society. This sheer volume of use, dependency, and prominence certainly necessitates the need for proper management. However, the alarming $2.3 billion app-install ad fraud trend, shines a light on the failings of the current app-install advertising process.

So, if you’d like a crash course in the trending differences on ad fraud, stick around, because we’re going to be breaking down four trends in 2019 that highlight the difference between mobile ad fraud in Android vs. iOS.

Currently scratching your head, wondering what is ad fraud? Read about it here


Android Vs iOS – Android has Slightly Higher Fraud

We analyzed over 12 thousand apps and over 41M installs in our Q1 2019 report on ad fraud and found that although ad fraud is growing overall as an industry, and is the second-largest organized crime, after drugs, that Android is still slightly more affected by mobile ad fraud vs. iOS. However, the rates are relatively similar, with Android having a 27.3% fraudulent traffic rate, vs. iOS’s 22.1% fraudulent traffic rate. 

2019 Mobile Ad Fraud Trends- Android vs. iOS Advertising-min


iOS is Underestimated Widely. 

If you do a quick Google search on mobile ad fraud, Android vs. iOS, you will be painted a picture, that iOS has very little mobile ad fraud, while Android has copious amounts. For example, TotalRetail, published that the mobile ad fraud rate is Android (29.1%) Vs. iOS (4.5%) whilst Exchangewire wrote: “…fraud on Android more than 6 times higher”. The hegemonic view, seems to be that overall iOS is a much safer place for all aspects of cybersecurity and traffic, which is true to an extent, however, not to the acuteness which it is represented in the media. 

iOS is slightly safer. The main difference is that click injection and changing the device ID is more difficult on iOS” – Aykut Bal, Head of Product at Interceptd. 


Different Categories Affected 

In general, three main categories are in the top four in both iOS vs. Android: Gaming, Shopping, and Finance. However, the fourth category differs along with the mobile ad fraud rates of these different categories. Here are the results:

iOS Android
  • Shopping (31.9%)
  • Gaming (31.1%)
  • Finance (28.6%)
  • Travel (22.9%)
  • Finance (35.3%)
  • Games (33.7%)
  • Shopping (31.1%)
  • Social (30.9%)

The alarming category is finance which is the most ad fraud vulnerable category for Android. Many sensitive apps such as banking and payment methods are in this category. To give you an idea of the type of sensitive apps, which are in the finance category, which may be affected by mobile ad fraud, take a look at the current top ten chart for the finance category in Google Play for October 2019 in Australia (below).

Whilst we cannot be certain what type of advertising or UA campaigns they are running (if any), it gives you an idea of the kind of potential marketing budget that may be wasted on ad fraud, given the size of these companies, and potential advertising budget spent. 

  1. CommBank
  2. Google Pay
  3. Afterpay
  4. Zip
  5. NAB Mobile Banking
  1. Beem It
  2. ANZ Australia
  3. Westpac
  4. Humm
  5. Latitude


Different Fraud Types

One of the biggest differences is that iOS simply does not have click injection, which takes a relatively high share of the overall ad fraud on Android. The two stores have many differences, developmentally, thus, there is no surprise that the methods and technologies used to siphon funds from mobile advertising are diverse across the two platforms. According to our 2019 results, on both iOS and Android on ad fraud, here are the differences for Android Vs iOS on ad fraud, in terms of the different ad fraud types that exist:

Android on Ad Fraud

iOS on Ad Fraud

  • Device Farms: 22.5%
  • SDK Spoofing: 17.75%
  • Click Injection: 17.5%
  • Click Spamming: 17.5%
  • Bot/emulators: 13.75%
  • Device Farms: 26%
  • SDK Spoofing: 24%
  • Click Spamming: 18%
  • Bot/Emulators: 16%

Whether discussing ad fraud on iOS or ad fraud on Android, both are affected in different ways. However, the one constant is growth. Ad fraud is growing, on both Android and iOS.  If you’d like to turn the tables on ad fraud and discuss ways you can grow your business with our ad fraud protection tool, then click here for a free consultation.


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