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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : January 20, 2017

Mobile 'click injection' fraud forecast to become prevalent in 2017

There is a new fake click kid on the block, according to mobile attribution and analytics company Adjust, that works only on mobile devices using Google's Android operating system.

by Helen Leggatt

As the devices and apps we use evolve, so do the ways in which fraudsters operate. A new type of fake click fraud is predicted to become the major form of mobile marketing fraud in 2017 and it is called 'click injection', according to Adjust.

'Click injection' fraud occurs when a mobile user installs a free app on their Android device, such as a game or a flashlight app.

"In mobile analytics, we usually say 'install' to refer to the first open," explains Andreas Naumann, fraud specialist at Adjust. "Measurement SDKs can't measure installs any sooner than this because the SDK code can't run until the app is opened for the first time."

Fake clicks are injected by fraudulent app publishers into an Android device as the user installs an app. Click injection fraud can only take place on an Android device thanks to the use of 'install broadcasts' that detect when other apps are downloaded and inform every other installed app (including the fraudulent one).

Click injections of this kind, as with many types of mobile fraud, can appear like legitimate advertising interactions to marketing analytics systems. This makes engagements faked with click injection very difficult to identify individually.

Fake ad engagements not only siphon off advertising budget that could have reached more people. Worse, conversions such as these result in marketers inaccurately believing certain paid campaigns resonate better with users than they actually do.

The data becomes dirty: numbers-driven conclusions that marketers reach are then based on data that contains systematic inaccuracies. This can mean that advertisers continue to invest in advertising that is relatively ineffective, potentially diverting money from better-placed and better-designed campaigns.

Tags: advertising, apps, click fraud, fraud, mobile, research

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