Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Mobile Ad Fraud Still Going Up

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Despite digital media’s best efforts to clean up ad fraud it appears the ecosystem is full of more scammers than ever before.  The increase in mobile ad fraud makes sense when you think about it – we’re using our mobile devices now more than ever, creating new opportunities for bad actors to make some illicit money from false reporting.  Here are a few of the hottest (or should I say coldest?) ad fraud trends right now.

  • SDK Spoofing: Fraudsters have found a way to hack into the back-end architecture of some app developers’ SDKs and make it appear that their app has been downloaded even though it hasn’t.  For performance campaigns which pay networks per app download this kind of fraud can be a budget gobbler.
  • Click Injection: This one takes app-install fraud one step further by remotely accessing a mobile device and clicking into an ad on an app immediately after it’s downloaded.  By timing the stealth click just right Injectors can be paid for both the app download and a CPC-based ad unit at once.  Brilliant idea, but pure evil.
  • Human Simulation (coming soon): This one’s not on the market yet, but get ready for fraudsters to reverse engineer AI-driven chatbots to simulate human interactions with ads.  This could include simple click-thrus, downloads, swipes and even voice commands.  Catching computers committing fraud is hard enough, so just imagine what it will be like when we can’t distinguish between machines and humans using a mobile device.

Of course the vast majority of this ad fraud is still happening on non-premium mobile exchanges.  So marketers hoping to avoid these kinds of scams should stick with PMP-style deals directly with named publishers.  Otherwise the budget you think you’re saving by running on cheaper exchanges could actually be wasted on fraud.

 

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