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Understanding Mobile Ad Fraud & Types

Updated: Jul 1, 2022

The world of online advertising is an alluring one to fraudsters. Indeed, the impersonal nature of the transactions, a complex and often-opaque supply chain, and reliance on easily-fiddled metrics make ad fraud more common and also a big challenge among several marketers, publishers, and ad-tech enterprises alike today.

One of the most difficult challenges around digital mobile fraud is that no one really knows exactly how big a problem it is, with estimates ranging from high…to higher…to stratospheric. According to an Ad Fraud India survey by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), though 22 percent of mobile ad spends falls victim to ad fraud, exploring new technologies to check it is not in the eyes of many marketer's agenda.

In this article, we shall come to know about

  • Why does mobile ad fraud occur

  • Types of mobile ad fraud

  • How to fight mobile ad fraud

  • Final Words

Why does mobile ad fraud happen?

It looks like a target opportunity to make money easily and hastily through illegal means. There are 2 key factors driving the frauds rising today:

  • The mobile content is much slower production where both audience and advertisers demands are increasing on a daily basis, which creates an opportunity for fraudsters to utilise.

  • There is a lack of industrial action in assessing frauds that implies a criminal is less likely to be caught and can still act with impunity.

Mobile ad fraud requires wholesale industry co-ordination. All the people committed to fraud are aware of the flaws in the production and execution system, which is why they have complete information about using the glitched areas.

What are the types of Mobile Ad Frauds?

Mobile Ad Fraud

Many mobile advertisers have seen large fraud operations up to approximately 80 percent of marketing budgets for soft KPI driven campaigns. Here is a list of common frauds known today.

1. IVT:

Short for invalid traffic, IVT is any traffic not coming from real users. We can see that the principality of mobile advertising is followed by IVT which is designed to look like human activity. Within the general niche of IVT, there are two general categories:

  • GIVT (general IVT) and SIVT (sophisticated IVT). SIVT is designed to be human-like, often for criminal purposes.

2. Click Injection:

Also sometimes called click sniping, click injection is particularly prevalent in campaigns measured through last-click attribution. Many mobile measurement experts at several platforms claim to be the common app for frauds.

3. Click Replacement:

In last click attribution, the user click/search is open watched upon by malware and adware, once the user decides to download a particular mobile application, a click is pushed to replace existing click of organic/other publisher users.

4. Click Spamming:

With click spamming, fraudsters send a whole bunch of fake reports in the hopes that one of them is accepted as legitimate. Whenever you clock on a denial-of-service attack, the target of click spamming is to simply welcome the anti-fraud systems on the right side. Many people also know it as click flooding, and it took the growth for about 16 percent of all app installed fraud in between 2017 and 2018.

5. Ad Stacking:

In this type of fraud scheme, multiple ads are displayed all at once, one on top of the other. This allows an unscrupulous publisher or another involved partner to say that they technically served an ad and should receive payment for serving the said ad, even though the ad was never technically visible. This type of fraud can be a real big problem for many brand awareness campaigns.

6. App Spoofing:

App spoofing is also known as domain spoofing in the technical world, a fraudster will send a request that he is the ultimate owner and publisher allowing them to unlawfully get demand from advertisers.

7. Background Ad Activity:

This describes scenarios in which ads are served completely out of view of legitimate end-users. An advertisement is playing in the background but none of the people is aware of it. This is how the fraudster can still be able to charge from you even when none of the people has seen the ad.

How to fight mobile ad fraud?

Mobile ad fraud today is responsible for flushing down billions of dollars in marketing budgets all across the globe. When we discuss the fraud’s true effect, we must understand all parts to properly evaluate the threats of the online industry’s biggest danger.

  • There are some fraud tactics like malicious bots or device farms that directly have an effect on marketing camps by using advertising resources on unreal users who give zero value. But there are some indirect consequences that give a potentially bigger threat as long-term aftermath affect which impacts user devices and privacy leading to reputation or financial loss.

  • Responsible marketers must pay visits and find time to get knowledge of fraud tactics and mindset to properly approach the issue.

  • Marketing Fraud operations are often seen as a viable business today and their planning and execution eventually helps them get a smarter understanding of how to cope with the solution.

Final Words

Understanding the common fraud tactics, technological applications, and industry susceptibilities that allow fraud to blossom can help turn the situation on internal and external initiatives. They will help in decreasing the cases that are touching the sky now.


Auhsini Das

About Her:

With a Data Science degree from IIT Madras, Aushini enrich audience with her high quality tech articles. Having +5 years of experience in content writing, She work passionately to create copy that converts, with a focus on maintaining your authentic brand voice.



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