Updated: Feb 23
We are very familiar with spotting advertisements while playing games on the mobile phone. Also, some games even lure customers to watch some advertisements for some extra points. In-game advertising is a very common form of digital media that has continued to raise with the rise of the programmatic industry. And throughout history there have been people who try to exploit these flows through illicit activities where there is potential for profit. The game developers are usually in no way responsible for this fraudulent activity and probably do not even know about it.
What is mobile ad fraud?
Mobile advertisement fraud is the effort to deceive advertisers, publishers, or delivery partners by abusing cell phone advertising know-hows. The aim of scammers is to steal advertising budgets. Types of mobile phone ad fraud include click spam, click injection, and SDK spoofing. Mobile phone ad fraud can take many forms, from fake impressions, click spam, or fake installs. Fraudulent publishers looking to take advantage of fake impressions can, for example, stick ads in a single pixel or deliberately place an ad out of sight to generate views or impressions that never occurred.
Gaming apps are now replacing more conventional forms of entertainment and in-app advertising is widely used. Mobile games have a high level of participation and scammers are attracted because consumers are exposed to the ads for longer. However, the biggest challenge marketers’ face with digital ad fraud is not knowing exactly how big the problem is. And the risk continues to grow.
What are some commonly used mobile fraud indicators?
Mobile ad fraud has its own ciphers and signs that can be used to rank and eradicate operators. Inconsistencies in user behavior, system sensors, and more can be discovered using data obtained from attribution providers. This also helps to recognise activity patterns and highlight conspicuous behaviours. A larger record helps identify fraudulent patterns better and faster.
These are some of the indicators:
New Device Rate (NDR) is the percentage of new devices that download an application through an advertiser. It is important to monitor NDR activity as this rate is determined by the new measured device IDs. When a different user installs an app or an existing user changes a device, it can be influenced by device ID rearrange fraud tactics.
Ad tracking limits give users control over the amount of information advertisers can obtain about the operation of their devices. Scammers use it to cover their plans on their smartphones, but this only applies to Google and iOS advertisers.
Click to Install Time (CTIT), as the term suggests, can be used to identify various cases of click-based fraud, such as the user's first advertising interaction or the first time an application is opened.
Artificial intelligence helps recognise occurrences that humans cannot track. A fraud recognition resolution in amalgamation with a gigantic mobile attribution list together with machine learning algorithms confirms competent fraud detection.
Device Sensors is a biometric behavior analysis based on hundreds of sensor indicators from the device's battery level to its angle and more. These indicators help create a profile for each facility that analyzes the device and user behavior of each facility and its compatibility with normal trends measured with real users.
Conversion rates are the percentage of ad impressions that convert to clicks that generate installs and installs from active users. Knowing an advertiser's expected conversion rates in advance at any point in the customer experience helps prevent fraud.
To understand the basics of ad fraud in gaming, we need to first look at why and how advertising is incorporated in gaming:
1. The concept of earning virtual currency:
Many games allow users to earn virtual money or credits to purchase in-game items. Some ad technology vendors who are always on the lookout for an attentive audience, have developed a simple media delivery model that takes advantage of this component. Players can easily earn virtual rewards or currency by interacting with paid advertising.
2. The ability of participants to configure game servers
Players (and others) who configure their own servers to host these types of games can add plugins, invite others to join, and perform a variety of other game-related tasks. Game - including enabling a rewards offer announcement.
3. The game’s chat functionality
A player who wants to see paid ads to redeem rewards will send these messages through chat which forwards a request to the server serving the ad. It was discovered that a bot was being deployed to consume these ads, using actual player IDs that never invoked the required commands.
4. How to combat ad fraud in the gaming industry?
To efficiently fight ad fraud, exclusively in the gaming arena, marketers must understand that scammers are smart and always one step ahead of us. They are innovative, creative, and constantly improving their tools. Any form of ad fraud leads to a decrease in digital trust. Timely action is essential to prevent mobile ad fraud and regain trust in the digital community. Therefore, marketers must be armed with an unconventional and chic mobile ad fraud solution and be careful at every step of the customer journey. This will ensure that new and existing fraudulent practices are identified and blocked, and that mobile campaigns generate business results.
How Marketers can act?
An online marketing campaign of any size requires a strong and stable infrastructure and an adaptive approach to detect and block new and existing fraud methods. Advertisers that rely on re-marketing are at great risk of hijacking. Any marketer's campaign plan must consider this risk. More transparency, analytics, and answerability are essential to tackle mobile ad fraud with a 360-degree security approach, and robust reassignment is essential to detect fraud at all levels. Daily campaign tracking, cost per acquisition (CPA), and the help of a trusted partner can work together to help a marketer identify and protect against the negative effects of cell phone ad fraud. Fraud is based on ROI. The more steps marketers take, the greater the chances of reducing fraudulent attacks.