Understanding and Mitigating Ad Fraud on Mobile

Apr 03, 2019

Alexandra Matthews

Despite the ubiquity of mobile devices, technology leaders are still struggling to get control of ad fraud which plagues brands, marketers, publishers, and users. These concerns over advertising fraud are on the rise, and with good reason. Even the most conservative estimates put the money involved worldwide well into the billions. In fact, the amount of lost revenue on fraudulent web traffic is expected to soar over $16 billion. With a fortune on the line, marketers have to protect themselves (and their brands) however they can, starting with their partners and technology vendors.  

A recent survey shows widespread concern among marketers when it comes to ad fraud and comprehensive advertising measurement. Meanwhile, media buyers are setting aside nearly half of their entire digital budgets strictly to mobile.

With all of the fraud pitfalls in the mobile ecosystem, marketers are struggling to protect themselves.

So What’s Going on Here?

There are two approaches when it comes to mobile advertising: in-app ads and mobile

web ads. Even within these two mechanisms that can serve fake or inflated ads, mobile ad fraud can manifest itself in various sneaky ways:

    • View fraud, where ads are intentionally shown in a way that’s invisible to users to inflate viewership reports.
  • Reputation fraud, which indicates whether a publisher or user ID is suspected of having engaged in fraud previously.
  • Tunneled traffic, a process often used by criminals to hide users’ geolocations by masking the IP address.

Despite the greater risk and fraud susceptibility of mobile web advertising, in-app ads tend to have a far worse perception among media buyers. There is value to both in-app and mobile web, as different consumers take different mobile journeys. However, it is imperative for marketers to understand the values and pitfalls of each and prioritize transparency from end-to-end.

So are in-app ads safer than mobile web ads? Despite the discrepancy in perception, the answer is yes. One study found fraud involving bots and viruses designed to simulate human users occurred 74 percent less often in-app compared to the mobile web.

Bye Bye, Bots

The issue facing marketers is that bots and user-simulating viruses can inflate the number of users served any given ad at any given time. According to eMarketer, mobile advertising will make up 43 percent of the total US ad market by 2020.

This means fake numbers breed real problems for marketers. Bots that feign installs and downloads, and create fake volumes of data are constantly evolving, and at a much faster rate than any marketer can keep up with alone. This is where transparency reigns supreme when it comes to partnering with vendors to optimize mobile marketing.

Due to Ogury’s double opt-in, we ensure that we only reach real people who explicitly consent to share their signals that we use to generate our first-party mobile user journey data. Since 2014, Ogury has presented real mobile users with the opportunity to give explicit consent to share their journey signals in exchange for relevant and tailored marketing recommendations. No bots, no fraudulent traffic, only full transparency, and data that marketers can trust.

Measure Up and Team Up to Take Down Fraud

With the perils of ad fraud looming over marketers’ heads, what can they do? The first step is simple: not only should marketers and brands partner with third-parties who only leverage quality consented first-party data, but they should also be measurement agnostic.

Ogury doesn’t believe in grading our own homework. As the pioneers of Mobile Journey Marketing, we are always eager to have our data and insights verified by third-parties. In fact, Ogury’s inventory is 100% measurable as verified by IAS (Integral Ad Science).

Legislation such as CCPA and GDPR are launching many data-driven technology companies into a state of uncertainty. Ogury welcomes the well overdue regulations with open arms. Ogury is built on transparent, compliant first-party data. We joined the IAB Mobile Center because of their similar focus on transparency and compliance. We don’t believe that companies should be compliant because that’s what recent laws are ‘forcing’ them to do. Rather, they should be compliant because that is what’s in the best interest of the end-user.

We realized that if we wanted to add value to a users’ mobile experience, we needed to be completely transparent with them. And I urge you all to do the same.

Are you ready to break free from ad fraud and move to a more transparent mobile strategy? Reach out to me directly at: Evan@ogury.com

Evan Rutchik, CRO, USA