Mobile ad fraud is worse than ever, new research suggests.
Compared to 2017, mobile ad fraud rates almost doubled, notes mobile attribution provider Adjust. Throughout the year, Adjust’s fraud prevention technology rejected 7.3% of all paid installs.
The fraud rates only show the level of fraud prevented for advertisers taking measures to protect themselves, according to Andreas Naumann, a fraud specialist at Adjust.
“Yet, the aggregate amount of preventable fraud is significantly higher,” Naumann suggests. “The number of unreported cases of advertisers being victims of mobile ad fraud is undoubtedly a much higher number.”
Last year, the games category was hardest hit -- experiencing 35% fraud rates. The next category that fraudsters attacked was e-commerce, which experienced 20% fraud rates.
In 2018, there has been a dramatic shift, according to Adjust. E-commerce is now the most affected vertical, accounting for two-fifths of the total installs rejected by Adjust.
Other mobile app categories that have been most affected after e-commerce are games at 30%, followed by travel apps with 10%.
The dramatic rise in these latest fraud numbers can be explained by a newly popular form of ad fraud: SDK Spoofing.
Adjust’s initial investigation found that SDK Spoofing is globally distributed across all markets and is attributable to 37% of all rejected installs.
The app categories hit hardest by SDK Spoofing include games (29%), e-commerce (27%), and food and drink (17%).
Meanwhile, single campaigns experienced up to 80% of all installs attributable to SDK Spoofing. This means that some advertisers could be losing 80% of their ad budget, by Adjust’s calculations.