What is App Install Farm?

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Adaptations to swiftly morphing technology have been a problem for humankind since dawn. In the meantime, intelligent people gave technology courses, and wiser people foresaw this and tried to have a profit from it. Snap to present, and we can see that it did not change.
A tainted fruit of those “smarter” people, app install farms were the pinnacle of mobile ad fraud tactics in the mid-2010s. A seemingly impossible to follow back its traces, app install farms are diminished in their occurrence because they need a workforce to operate. However, they are still here and, on the rise, sometimes with little twists, posing great danger to your mobile ad budget.


-App Install Farms

The fraudsters need hundreds of real mobile phones equipped with their service providers and some physical workforce to create an app install farm. This workforce uses the phones to click the ad, download the mobile app, make an in-app engagement, delete the app. After deleting the app, the phone’s mobile id (the digital address of the mobile phone, which translates to the uniqueness of the person reached by the ad) is changed to a new one, simulating a new person engaging with the ad and the app.

This process is repeated hundreds, even thousands of times per day and adds up to an alarming number of engagements per app, hacking up the required numbers for the ad campaign. On top of that, no matter how different the ad campaign requirements are, this is an organic operation and can do almost every intricate thing. These farms go to the heights of making in-app purchases to pose as a unique audience if it is profitable.


-App Install Farms Worldwide
Because they are pretty expensive to have a setup like this in a developed country, app install farms are primarily set in countries where manual labor is cheap. However, the extensive utilization of DNS to change the mobile phone’s geolocation can quickly mitigate the telltale signs of this malicious action.


-Ad Fraud: App Install Farms
This type of fraud, like we said before, is seemingly unlikely to happen because of the need for a workforce and a lot of real mobile phones. But it is also one of the hardest mobile ad frauds to detect. If an unaware person gets victimized by it, the only knowledge they would have is high engagement only during the ad campaign and nothing after that.

There is also this exciting investigation made by SCMP that shows the absurd power of those farms. How can a billion people watch a video in a country with 750 million internet users? Forging views is easy to pull off, it seems, but then again, the year was 2018, techniques are entirely improved.

Before we go into prevention, there is also another thing. To go such heights, the install farms can change their service providers too. Yet the fraudsters also know this, and from time to time, videos of app install farms come to the surface, leaving the bragging rights to the fraudsters and fear to us looking for advertising their mobile app. The only relief about this fraud is that it is hard to pull off.


-How to Prevent Install Farm Frauds?

If a perfect install farm influences your ad budget, you would not know it until the campaign is over without any professional help. Fortunately, not every app install farm works that meticulously. Trying to check for repetitions or patterns in IDs of phones is a start. After that, geolocation data might give some answers if there is a discrepancy. Lastly, the service provider data might be hiding something about this type of mobile ad fraud. The in-app activity can also give hints if there is fraud happening. There is an organic involvement, but humans also get automatized due to intense repetition and essential, high-speed clicking throughout days.


-Interceptd and App Ad Fraud
Setting up an app install farm is not cheap, and people behind it naturally move extra cautious, and that is where you should get professional help from Interceptd. Interceptd can notify you about every fraudulent activity noted above to save your ad budget. On top of every corner, every nook investigating IP-related fraud prevention algorithms, Interceptd provides behavioral data analysis and alarms without you breaking a sweat both physically and due to concerns about ad fraud.

If you’d like to learn more about how to safeguard your marketing funnel from ad fraud, schedule a free consultation demo now.

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