Mobile usage continues to attract an ever growing number of app developers and marketers, looking for new and innovative ways to acquire mobile app users. However, as the competition increases so does fraudulent activity, an ongoing study by VentureBeat finds. According to their latest report, based on the responses from 500 mobile developers and publishers, the number of mobile publishers who said they were cheated increased to almost two-thirds this year, up from 34% in 2014.
Mobile user acquisition fraud in 2014
Due to the rapid growth of the mobile ecosystem, it’s a different picture in 2015. The number of those who had previously encountered fraud was up to 58.8%.
Mobile user acquisition fraud in 2015
Advertising and promotional costs have increased dramatically over the past few years, racking up to as much as $3 at minimum and some paying between $8-$25 for a high quality user. This has invited fraudulent activity to surface, including bots, invisible ads, stacked banners, “tricky” links and install farms. According to VentureBeat’s Mobile Advertising and Brands report, digital ad fraud could reach $6.3bn in 2015. Mobile accounts for a quarter of that.
Indeed, the International Bureau for Advertising (IAB) released their Anti Fraud Principles in March 2015. However, these principles focus on desktop ad fraud and do not touch upon mobile, an industry worth $100bn in 2016 in ad spending. Cyber security firm White Ops says that mobile advertising fraud is of growing concern and suspect vendors have begun to take on mobile identities in order to cover their tracks.
Companies such as AdTheorent are trying to combat the problem by offering solutions that filter out bots and scams leaving a clean mobile supply for advertisers. The company recently launched its first comprehensive anti-fraud infrastructure to address the need for a mobile security solution.