Tune, a mobile marketing startup that's raised $36.4 million in venture funding and recently cut its staff by 9%, has a new software tool to identify and prevent a growing kind of mobile application fraud known as “click injection” on Android devices. Click injection uses a bot or malware installed on a mobile device to steal attribution credit and advertising dollars for a genuine app install, per a statement.
Tune worked with Google to identify when scripts or bots inject fake ad clicks between the time a person downloads and first opens an app. Tune estimated that click injection fraud makes up 30% to 40% of all mobile app install fraud and costs marketers $500 million to $700 million a year.
Peter Hamilton, CEO at Tune, said the cooperation with Google will help to stamp out fraudulent click injection. The search giant recently introduced a Play Install Referrer API that lets measurement firms like Tune prevent click injection fraud. Tune integrated the new Google Play referral data that show when an app download began into its Tune Marketing Console software.
In-app mobile advertising is growing rapidly and needs to address fraud issues to support a healthy market for continued investment and growth. Eliminating click injection fraud is one way to make the marketplace safer for app developers and advertisers, according to Tune, which is among the companies seeking to address various forms of advertising fraud that sow distrust between brands and mobile marketing platforms.
In-app mobile ad spend is forecast to jump 32% this year to $45.3 billion, according to an October estimate by researcher eMarketer. Apps make up 80% of all U.S. media dollars spent on mobile, eating into the market share of the mobile web. Mobile web ad spend is forecast to rise 2.3% this year to $13 billion, the researcher said.
Google and Facebook are capturing a significant portion of app ad spending, making measurement on their platforms especially important for brands. About 60% of app ad spending is estimated to go to Google and Facebook, which have faced criticism from advertisers about the inadequacy of their systems to place and track ads. Google has taken steps this year to address complaints that ads are showing alongside objectionable content, while Facebook has opened up to third-party measurement in response to advertiser concerns.