Simple Metrics to Understand If You Are a Victim of Fraud

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Forcefully incorporated into all forms of marketing, both digital and regular, ad fraud is a reality that is happening throughout the world. Naturally, every ad campaign has a chance to fall victim to ad fraud even though the advertisers advocate their operation is sufficiently secure. So, as the mobile app owner looking for putting your advertisement online, doubt and suspicion should be your first line of defense against mobile advertisement fraud. Before getting professional help about mobile ad fraud, checking certain metrics might uncover some types of ad fraud.



To have a high return rate for a mobile app, focusing on a specific demographic group in advertising is essential. Consequently, advertisers are expected to oblige but, in some cases, your ad might not be serviced to that curated audience due to ad fraud.

Fortunately, the metrics provided by your advertiser should disclose this information and this is a must-check to find out if your ad is shown in places where it shouldn’t be shown.

-Click Count

Another telltale sign of mobile ad fraud is the number of clicks your mobile app will get during your ad campaign. Normally, a sudden click count increase is expected at the beginning of an ad campaign, followed by a steady rise throughout the operation. However, if the metrics show that there are unnatural peaks in click counts during specific times or if the increase is not gradual but just up to a certain number, your ad campaign might currently be undermined by Ad Fraud.


-Install conversion rate (CR)

While clicks are the rough implications for the success of your mobile ad campaign, the conversion rate for your app is the real measurement for it. Topping off your conversion rate to perfection is impossible for nearly every kind of marketing medium. So, details in this statistic become more of a friend than a foe.

Closely following the average conversion rates for similar advertised products or ecosystems similar to the data provided here and comparing them with your conversion rates provided by the advertiser is the next step for unearthing fraudulent activity. Yes, a higher CR means bigger profits but a fabricated CR (fake installs) means an empty budget at the end of your campaign.


-Click-to-install time (CTIT)

Another metric to check for irregularities is CTIT. CTIT gives information about the time your targeted audience took; from the impression to installing your mobile app. The expected time is normally seconds to a few minutes but in some cases, metrics might show hours or even days and this means that you might be looking at a case of ad fraud.


-Event conversion rate

Another result of advertising to invalid demographics, lower than expected event conversion rates might be caused by an ongoing Ad Fraud. If you are sure that your ad is sufficiently appetizing for your customers but the metrics like in-app purchases are nowhere close to the expected ratio, your app might not be targeted to the audience you specifically ordered; this is also an ad fraud.

High event conversion rate, a seemingly good thing at first glance, might also be hiding a problem. Some types of mobile ad fraud such as SDK spoofing might be clouding your metrics about purchases being made even though they are not.


-Impossible event funnels

Let’s say your mobile application has some exclusive features offered in-app and users need to make an in-app purchase to gain its full benefits. The expected way a biological organism will follow would be to check the capabilities of your app first and make a purchase after coming to the decision that free features are not enough. If you see from your application metrics that events are completed before intended interaction is made means that your application is not used by biological organisms. Specifically including event funnels in your mobile application might help you see Ad Fraud activity more clearly. More info on this topic can be found here.


-Own benchmarks

If you have an organic audience base that you have prior to your ad campaign, you can utilize their data and compare it with the metrics provided by your advertiser and check for discrepancies. It is beneficial to keep all the data you collected for future referencing too.


-Multiple analytic tools

Sometimes the metrics data provided by your advertiser’s analytic tool might not cut it. To keep your mind and wallet in check against more distinguished ad fraud techniques, a second opinion coming from a different analytic tool might help you understand your metrics better and makes you able to execute comparative analyses.

-Incrementality analysis

The last-click attribution model gives little to no detail about the journey of the ad in the consumer’s mind. To challenge the genuineness of the success of your ad campaign, an incrementality analysis can be made. The regular incrementality analysis requires forming two groups with only one group seeing the ads. The conversion ratio difference will show how effective your ad is but this method is quite a hassle to bring into reality so an alternative for that would be to stop showing ads for periods of time during your ad campaign to see the amount of your audience already reaching to your app without the help of an ad.


-Last words

In the hope of preventing mobile ad fraud, we tried to provide you with some easy methods to see if you are targeted by Ad Fraud. However, due to the complex nature of ad fraud and its everchanging tactics, it is becoming quite hard for companies to fight against it in non-autonomous ways. We, Interceptd, are offering solutions that will enable real-time support and comparative analyses for your ad campaigns with many preventive features. If you have any suspicion about your mobile ad campaign, you can request a free demo from here.

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