15 Jun Mobile Fraud

Technology is getting smarter, and so are the scammers who use it with malicious intent. These fraudsters are always on the cutting edge of technological advances, searching for new ways to exploit unsuspecting users. As marketers target mobile apps for advertising opportunities, scammers are using innovative schemes to do some targeting of their own.

In theory, scammers who perform malicious actions on the web are just the dark side of the marketing industry and its ad-based revenue structure. Their goals are the same as legitimate marketing professionals, like generating engagement through clicks on advertisements, but their means are deceptive. Scammers want to boost their metrics and appeal to advertisers so they can increase their profits. Unfortunately for the advertisers who invest in them, the data these scammers produce is inaccurate and skews their marketing strategy. The growing popularity of mobile apps, and advertising opportunities within them, has allowed scammers to take advantage of marketers and their audience.

Fraudulent clicks are one of the most common ways that scammers are exploiting mobile apps. Through a form of fraud called click spam, scammers are able to generate clicks on the user’s behalf, unbeknownst to the user themselves. This occurs when a user downloads a malicious app. While the app is running on their mobile device, scammers work in the background to execute clicks on advertisements within the app, thereby simulating organic interaction from the user. When advertisers asses the data from their campaigns, it appears as if their ads are performing successfully on the app due to high numbers of engagement through clicks. This impacts their budget and strategy development as advertisers may choose to invest more marketing dollars in these apps as a result of the campaign’s performance. Unbeknownst to them, those clicks were actually generated without the user’s knowledge and are not an accurate representation of organic audience engagement.

Though researchers are hard at work finding ways to stop mobile ad fraud, for those frequently effected by it, prevention is key. Monitoring your campaigns and understanding the results will help you catch on quickly if something is amiss. It’s important for marketing professionals to keep track of performance metrics and retain reports that breakdown the data. With this information on file, you’ll have a record of past campaign performance that can be accessed easily if you ever need to compare data. Another important mobile fraud prevention method is limiting your campaign to high-quality apps. Scammers tend to disguise malicious ads within free, low-quality apps with high volume downloads. Only reserving your advertising dollars for apps that are of good quality can save your budget in the long run and ensure your campaign results are accurate and based on real user data.

With every new advancement in technology, fraudsters are not far behind with innovative ways to exploit and profit. Mobile ads are the primary source of engagement for many advertisers and scammers are seeking to take advantage of this new opportunity. By protecting your brand through preventative tactics, you can beat scammers at their own game and ensure your investments are worthwhile.

Bruce Freides