Mobile marketers are asleep at the wheel when it comes to ad fraud, a new report by Singular indicates. While the industry is stepping up efforts to combat false web impressions, little is being done to fight click fraud on mobile platforms.
“Amid all the noise in the analytics ecosystem that data science, machine learning and performance optimization can defeat fraud, the mobile industry still suffers from persistently high fraud costs each year as the majority of marketers fail to implement active fraud prevention in their mobile marketing systems,” said Gadi Eliashiv, Singular’s founder and CEO.
According to a report made available to AListDaily, 63 percent of marketers don’t use any mobile fraud prevention techniques at all, becoming easy prey for even the most easily preventable attacks.
The blame for this troubling statistic doesn’t fall fully on marketers’ shoulders, however. “Part of the blame lies with the analytics industry. Many analytics providers treat fraud prevention as a luxury, offering it to marketers as an add-on or ‘premium’ feature,” the report reads. “Rather, fraud prevention should be deeply embedded into every attribution platform, effective out of the box and free of charge.”
By putting so much of the burden to catch fraudsters on marketers themselves, attribution providers end up hurting their own clients and themselves in the process.
According to Singular’s data, the most preventable type of click fraud is attribution manipulation, where fraudsters steal credit for app installs from legitimate sources. Seventy percent of all attacks blocked by security measures counted as attribution manipulation, meaning that many marketers can easily stop a major source of wasted ad spend.
Another, more pernicious type of fraud are fake user agents, which can take a number of forms that make them especially difficult to root out. Fake user agents, either through malware, bots or real human workers, simulate engagement on many devices to scam advertisers.
These common types of fraud are only the tip of the iceberg, the report warns. Marketers only know the full extent of scams after they’ve been detected, meaning that any number of more insidious attacks can be happening under their noses at any time.
“Ad fraud is a game where losing can actually look like winning,” the report claims. Even once a company stops one kind of scam, it’s important to stay ever vigilant. “In reality, you’re only preventing dumb attacks, with no sense of the fraud you’re actually missing,” the report reads. “Under the radar, fraudulent sources are stealing credit for your organic users.”