Protect your advertising spend from fraudsters in mobile apps
Millions of consumers across the globe engage with mobile apps everyday. Whether it’s for social media, convenience, productivity, or pure entertainment, mobile apps have become an essential part of people’s daily lives — and marketers have followed suit. But fraud has become a billion dollar problem across mobile, with marketers losing nearly $35 billion in mobile app ad spend to fraud globally in 2023.
With the increasing threat of in-app fraud, marketers across the globe are adopting sophisticated anti-fraud tools to defend against these covert operations and protect their advertising budgets.
What is mobile app ad fraud?
Mobile app ad fraud refers to any kind of deceptive practice that manipulates advertising in mobile apps to generate revenue or unfairly disrupt competitors. This form of fraud rears its ugly head in multiple ways, including app spoofing, out of context ad rendering, and geo masking, among others. The goal? These fraudsters aim to generate fake ad impressions and steal revenue from digital advertisers, publishers, or supply partners. This malpractice exploits one of the most active channels in digital advertising, undermining its credibility and financial potential.
Mobile app ad fraud is a major challenge for marketers. This issue not only drains advertising budgets but also risks damaging brand reputation and jeopardizes potential collaborations with publishers and platforms. Brands in particular face the threat of wasted ad spend and diminished trust among consumers, impacting their brand equity.
What are the common types of ad fraud within apps?
There are many common forms of mobile app fraud — here are some of the most prevalent:
- App Spoofing: App spoofing is a deceptive practice in mobile ad fraud where an app’s identity is falsely represented. It often involves lesser-known apps presenting themselves as popular ones to command higher ad rates, rogue exchanges listing well-known apps to inflate inventory value, and mislabeling mobile ads as premium CTV ads. App spoofing causes advertisers to pay premium rates for misrepresented ad placements and erodes trust throughout the supply chain.
- Out of Context Ad Rendering: This form of fraud occurs when a mobile app displays ads while not in active use or visible to the user, disrupting device functionality and leading to unintentional clicks. This practice degrades the user experience and wastes ad spend, violating guidelines that require ads to be non-intrusive and easily dismissible.
- Geo Masking: This is a deceptive tactic in mobile ad fraud where fraudsters disguise their geographic location to simulate traffic from high-value markets. By doing so, they can command higher ad rates or meet specific campaign requirements targeted at certain regions. Geo masking misleads advertisers about the actual origin of ad engagement, leading to inaccurate targeting and wasted ad spend.
- Device Farm Exploitation: Device farms are setups that may use virtual machine (VM) devices or even real people to simulate ad interactions, like clicks and views. These farms generate artificial ad traffic and falsely inflate engagement metrics, which leads advertisers to unknowingly pay for fake engagement.
How can I prevent ad fraud within my apps?
Protection on mobile app campaigns is essential — after all, the average consumer spends a third of their day browsing mobile apps, making it one of the most prolific channels for advertising. To combat fraud and prevent fraudsters from re-entering apps, media quality partners are key. In fact, IAS recently found that campaigns that are not optimized for fraud tend to encounter levels of fraud up to 16x higher than those that are optimized against ad fraud.
Media quality partners, like IAS, employ teams of specialized analysts, engineers, and data scientists to address ad fraud from every angle. Their expertise ensures that ad spend is allocated correctly, enhancing campaign safety and effectiveness. Using the right measurement solutions to detect fraud and optimization solutions to prevent it can ensure safety, security, and confidence when driving your brand’s message across mobile apps.
How IAS can help
As a leader in detecting and mitigating fraud in mobile campaigns, IAS knows how important mobile protection is. IAS uses AI and machine learning to identify potential fraud behavior and uncommon patterns in marketers’ campaigns. Plus, IAS’s ad fraud detection and mitigation system is designed to effectively stop more bots compared to competitors, while ensuring that real human interactions are never blocked.
With mobile usage growing each year, standardized mobile measurement for Invalid Traffic and Viewability is crucial. That’s why IAS provides independent, trusted verification at scale on mobile and in-app. Our solutions include Brand Safety and Suitability, verification for insight into Viewability, optimization for in-app efficiency, and unmatched anti-fraud products that will boost real engagement from real users.
Here’s a look at the in-app ad fraud tools that IAS offers:
- Comprehensive coverage across programmatic buys with measurement and optimization support to ensure Viewability, IVT, and Brand Safety
- Customizable reporting, including Brand Safety with content risk categories and inclusion/exclusion lists
- Single tag solution that supports monitoring and blocking for both display and video
Drive superior results in your mobile app campaigns with IAS’s industry-leading suite of ad fraud products. Learn more about how IAS fights and prevents fraud, and contact us to stop fraud in your mobile app campaigns today.