July 19th, 2018
The numbers are staggering, and you’ve likely heard them before: Mobile ad fraud is growing, and it’s costing marketers billions.
According to Juniper Research, overall ad fraud is estimated to cost marketers $19 billion this year—and that number is projected to hit $44 billion by 2022.
When we narrow the focus to mobile ad fraud, the data doesn’t get much more promising. According to Mobilewalla, fraudulent mobile data ran up a $16 billion marketing tab in 2017. Mobilewalla also found that 87% of devices passed through programmatic mobile in the U.S. were fraudulent.
There are number of ways mobile and click fraud can and does work—and it’s most common outside of the walled gardens of Facebook, Google, and Apple’s mobile ad offerings.
Buying outside of those three networks is alluring because marketers can more easily customize and target users with personalized creative that drives conversions—but those outside networks are also a much bigger source of fraudulent installs, click-flooding, and other nefarious fraudster tactics.
These statistics—and the state of mobile ad fraud—put marketers in a tough position. It’s universally acknowledged that there’s a massive amount of mobile ad fraud occurring in the mobile space—but what steps can marketers take today to ensure their mobile advertising budgets aren’t being funneled directly to click-fraud criminals?
The best partners in mobile serve as the first line of defense against mobile ad fraud. In the world of fraud, there are known bad IPs—like a user coming from a Tor network, a user going through a known public proxy to hide their source, or other bots programmed to commit mobile ad fraud.
For those instances of mobile ad fraud, it’s important to have a technology partner that can immediately spot and block those installs. Finding the right partner is the first step toward preventing mobile fraud, the fastest way to protect your data, and a key part of determining your real mobile ad attribution.
Finding the right partner is one of the first boxes you will want to check off in your efforts to stop mobile ad fraud—and the more fraud detection can be handled programmatically, the better.
The key to detecting mobile ad fraud is usually in your data. Numbers will tell you a lot—but that means you have to search for the right stats, which can be a challenge without the right data at your disposal.
Through the Branch dashboard, our clients are able to find and act on key areas of mobile ad fraud detection.
Most mobile ad providers cover the fundamental bases to protect their clients from fraud. But there’s a new variable that can make a huge difference in your efforts to decrease instances of fraud: cross-channel behaviors.
Users’ behavior can be a huge indicator of fraud—especially across channels. The ability to compare cohorts across paid and non-paid advertising channels is critical for marketers who want to reduce instances of mobile ad fraud to create a clearer, more confident picture of their attribution.
Branch helps partners understand the baseline of their users’ normal behaviors across channels, such as install times and click rates. When behaviors outside of the norm arise across channels, Branch flags the instance as potentially fraudulent.
Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say four users click on a paid ad placement to download your mobile app. Three of those users display normal behaviors—they exhibit standard click-to-install times, and the average number of apps they download in a month is consistent with an average user. But the third person that downloads your app has fifty other apps installed, and never opens any of them. Based on normal cohort behavior, this user is more likely to be an instance of mobile fraud.
Ultimately, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to mobile ad fraud. However, there are plenty of steps marketers can take to reduce their instances of fraud, including working with partners like Branch to find trends in data across channels and to spot mobile ad fraud before it consumes even more dollars in your precious annual marketing budget.
Ready to learn more about how Branch can help you reliably and consistent fight mobile ad fraud? Request a demo to meet one-on-one with one of our mobile growth experts.