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Mobile ad fraud

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What is Mobile Ad fraud?

Mobile ad fraud is a representation of various methods used by fraudsters to exploit attribution systems used to measure ROI on advertisements.

Ad fraud is most often perpetrated by publishers as well as individuals/groups (aka fraudsters). These malicious entities go after the budgets of advertisers, agencies, and users.

It is mostly committed by individuals/groups who eye on the marketing budget of agencies and advertisers. 

Almost all ad campaigns have a payment attribution system and measure them based on CPI, CPA, etc. These days there is a hefty amount spent on ads, this makes it the ideal place for criminals to make use of and get their pockets filled by committing fraud.

Most of these ad frauds are committed through ad networks, but there are times when they also become victims of fraud.

Mobile Ad Fraud is a specific subgroup of online ad fraud that is mainly conducted on mobile devices on two channels:

  1. Mobile Web Browsers
  2. Mobile Applications

Why does Mobile Ad fraud matter?

For mobile advertisers, mobile ad fraud affects the entire marketing process, from current to future activities. It pollutes crucial data, resources and lose budgeting. 

While advertising budgets are stolen, advertisers are far from being the only ones impacted – fraud damages are felt across all entities and players within the marketing ecosystem.

Types of mobile ad fraud

When examining the most common fraud methods, these can be broken down into 2 main categories: attribution hijacking and fake installs.

The main difference between the two categories is the users. 

Real users Fake users

Real engagement Clean traffic N/A

Fake engagement Attribution hijacking Fake installs

Here’s a list of most types of mobile ad fraud:

  • Ad stacking
  • Attribution fraud
  • Bots
  • Click farms
  • Click fraud
  • Click flooding
  • Click hijacking
  • Click injection
  • Click redirection
  • CPA fraud
  • Device farm
  • Device ID reset fraud
  • Display fraud
  • Duplicate IP
  • Emulated devices
  • Fake users
  • Impression fraud
  • Install fraud
  • Install hijacking
  • Mobile malware
  • Phone farms
  • Purchase fraud
  • SDK spoofing


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