- App install fraud cost marketers $2.3 billion in the first six months of the year, per a study by AppsFlyer, a provider of mobile attribution and marketing analytics. The firm determined that 23% of non-organic app installs — downloads stemming from promotional activity — could be classified as fraudulent. App-install fraud happens when a fraudster generates a fake app download and takes credit for it.
- Fake in-app purchases surged tenfold to 2.1% of all in-app purchases in Q2 from the prior quarter. Finance and casino apps and those that appeal to serious gamers were the biggest targets for fake purchases, AppsFlyer found.
- Finance apps were most exposed to app install fraud because of their high cost-per-install (CPI) of $3 to $4, ahead of typical shopping apps at $2.1, per AppsFlyer. The firm surveyed 2.5 billion app installs among 9,500 apps from January to June.
AppsFlyer's research indicates that mobile ad fraud, which comes in several forms, is costly for the mobile marketing industry. The company said mobile ad fraud had subsided as the industry coped with massive bot attacks in previous years, but it started to emerge again in April as fraudsters grew more sophisticated against antifraud tech. Instead of relying on device farms that consist of hundreds of phones hooked up to the internet, fraudsters have developed device emulators and more sophisticated bots that have unlimited scale, Reshef Mann, co-founder and CTO of AppsFlyer, said in a statement.
App install fraud varies by region, with high-growth developing markets being particularly vulnerable. India, Indonesia, Brazil and Nigeria are considered high-risk regions. Marketers running campaigns in the countries must be cautious in their choice of media partners. By the comparison, the U.S. is seeing slightly less fraud as marketers grow more vigilant about the problem and take action, per AppsFlyer.
The new report comes as the IAB Tech Lab releases final specifications for a set of software tools to help fight ad fraud. The sellers.json and SupplyChain specifications are ready for industry adoption, the organization's CTO Sam Tingleff said in a company blog post. The new specifications aim to give buying platforms (DSPs) and intermediaries greater transparency into the origins, paths and legitimacy of programmatic ad inventory. The data help to block ad impressions travel through untrustworthy intermediaries, among other sources.