“How Much Is the Fish?” Oh, sorry — How Much Is Click Fraud?

As fast as mobile devices become more and more popular, and the number of applications increases consequently, losses because of advertisers’ click fraud also increase. As the statistics shows, average loss because of fraudsters on mobile internet is more than a billion USD per year. And, according to analytic research, two third of the users are faced to click fraud and fraudulence. And third part of traffic is in the risk zone because of fraudulence.

What is evidentiating of click fraud?

Evidentiating of click fraudulence includes a set of technologies and reports, which help marketing specialists to indicate and notice click frauds. Although protection against click fraudulence use many rules and signals in order to block fraud in real time, identifying lots of advanced types of fraudulence demands a deeper analysis.

Solutions for defining click frauds, like TEA Software use combination of huge data, machine studying in real time and machine intelligence, including fraud with Device ID reset, setting capture, dynamics of suspicious devices and click-flooding.

Some types of frauds are well-known in the mobile ad. For instance, imitation of mobile devices function, substitution of mobile agent and geographic location, as well as dishonest methods of users’ attraction. Forensiq, for instance, believes that in this research a new type for fraud appeared: stealing of mobile device.

During this time fraudulent mobile applications imitate the behavior of people, loading new pages through different service functions and through loading ad blocks. However, in case with fraud, loading is much faster in background mode, while the application itself is not used, and that leads to the fact that the ad is never shown to the user. That means that money, which was spent for the product or brand ad, was just wasted.

Based on this information, Forensiq company found out that the general loss of advertisers all over the world because of clickfraud reached the line of 1 billion dollars per year. But not only advertisers suffer of click fraud; the owners of mobile devices suffer as well. “Infected” applications consume a huge amount of traffic and battery charge.

More than 5000 of distrustful applications with the help of special script modelled user clicks on ads, uploaded target pages of advertisers without users’ permission, or by forwarding through partner’s links to various websites or applications in AppStore and GooglePlay.

Due to the research data, more than 14% of all mobile devices worldwide are under the threat and almost the same number of mobile applications of various operational systems like iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. According to geographical distribution of infected devices the following data was received: about 1% of mobile devices are in the USA and up to 3% are in Europe and Asia, consequently.

Types of frauds

· Click fraud

The most standard type of fraudulence in mobile ads. This type of fraudulence, when clicking is done both by specially hired people and bots, but users are not interested in ads, they just try to earn more at the expense of the ad on CPC model. This type of click fraud brings losses for advertisers, who pay per click that didn’t reach the result, and for the user, who didn’t have an intention to buy or learn about service or product.

· Banner fraud

This is one more, and not less used type of fraudulence. This is the situation, when the number of showing (not clicks) of ad banner is taken up forcedly. This may happen when a fraudster sets the banner with the 1*1 size in the place, which is not noticeable for the users when they look through the content. However, ad creative is “loaded” itself and mobile ad net records it, or when placing banner before or after main ad material.

· Conversion fraud

This type of fraudulence is met, as a rule, in those web nets, which on the CPA model (payment for desired actions), or, as it is called in other way, “fake conversion”. This is situation, when a special program imitates user actions, or web-master does it himself, but not with the purpose of leading, but to earn additional money.

In general, click fraud affects negatively mobile ecosystem, taking potential earnings of the site and wasting money of advertisers.

Click fraud is present in the main segments of mobile ad:

· Media, banner ad

· Social media

· SEO in mobile internet

· PPC — pay per click

· Programmatic RTB

· Other types of mobile ad

According to Forensiq research, fraud applications gated traffic through most of the biggest mobile ad nets and stock markets, and in some cases made up to a thousand connections per minute, linking with more than 300 nets, servers, stock markets and ad services per hour.

Why is click fraud a serious problem?

As it has been already mentioned above, the main problem of click fraud is that it costs billions of dollars per year for the advertisers. As a matter of fact, in the end of 2016 the loss for advertisers was more than 8 billion dollars; by the end of 2017 this figure increased twice — more than 16 billion dollars.

Nobody is insured against such kind of fraudulence. To a greater or lesser degree each advertiser suffers because of that. The more competition in this sector, the higher level of fraudulence is. After studying infographics, we understood that the financial sector was the one, which suffered the most of fraudsters’ attacks — 20% of the whole traffic.

This figure changes with time, and soon, we are afraid, the number of companies facing the problem of click frauds will just increase. Fortunately, many ad nets try to solve this problem with the help of such services like TEA Software that knows the ways how to detect and combat click frauds. And it is very important, because if the advertiser is not satisfied that his money is wasted, he will stop using the service.

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