Mobile Ad Fraud (In Numbers)

Last month, a study by mobile ad-tech firm AppLift and security company Forensiq said "a surprising proportion of programmatic mobile ad impressions — 34 percent to be exact — is at risk of being fraudulent."

Matt Vella, chief technology officer at Forensiq, told Adweek that "in some exchanges and traffic sources, the amount of mobile fraud that we've seen has actually eclipsed desktop fraud."

So what are the fraud numbers in mobile programmatic? Here's a breakdown: 

  • Mobile ad spending is set to reach $100 billion in 2016, according to an eMarketer report.
  • eMarketer also predicts mobile programmatic media buying will grab $20.5 billion by 2017. 
  • An IAB study found that invalid traffic accounts for a loss of $4.6 billion, and 28% of that traffic occurs on mobile.
  • A July Forensiq study found that within a 10-day period, 12 million mobile devices were flagged for fraudulent activity, and 700 invisible ads were loaded on a single hijacked device in an hour.
  • The July Forensiq study also estimated the annual cost of fraud to advertisers as more than $857 million, and found more than 13% of the 16.2 billion daily mobile in-app impressions observed were flagged as high-risk.
  • Research from Apsalar found Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern countries have the highest rate of click fraud on app install ads.



With regard to the December 2015 Forensiq study, the company's co-founder and CEO David Sendroff told ExchangeWire that fraud as we know it will decline as more sophisticated tactics become more widespread. "It will be important to consider other types of devices, like home security, smart TVs, etc, part of the IoT (Internet of Things)" -- which could be the next target, Sendroff said.

2 comments about "Mobile Ad Fraud (In Numbers)".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, January 4, 2016 at 10:31 a.m.

    Sounds like fraud is the only part of digital that's actually accountable!

  2. Judy Mowatt from Freelance Media Buyer, January 5, 2016 at 2:02 p.m.

    I would have thought that mobile would have more fraud than desktop. 

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